Military Embedded Systems

Uncrewed Orion spacecraft on its way to the moon


November 16, 2022

Lisa Daigle

Assistant Managing Editor

Military Embedded Systems

Photo: NASA/Bill Ingalls.

NASA KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. NASA's uncrewed Orion spacecraft launched with the agency's Space Launch System (SLS) rocket during the early hours of November 16, 2022, on its way to the moon as an initial flight test of NASA's deep-space exploration program.  

The launch is the first leg of the Artemis I mission, in which Orion is planned to travel approximately 40,000 miles beyond the moon and return to Earth over the course of 25.5 days. NASA officials state that Artemis I is a key piece of NASA’s "Moon to Mars" space-exploration approach, in which the agency explores for the benefit of humanity, calling it "an important test for the agency before flying astronauts on the [planned] Artemis II mission." 

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said of the SLS launch: "This uncrewed flight test will push Orion to the limits in the rigors of deep space, helping us prepare for human exploration on the Moon and, ultimately, Mars."

Orion is carrying a series of 10 CubeSats -- or small science investigations and technology demonstrations -- each with its own mission, with the results having the potential to fill gaps in our knowledge of the solar system or demonstrate technologies that may benefit the design of future missions to explore the moon and beyond.   

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