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NASA looks ahead following successful splashdown of Alabama built Orion capsule


NASA is already looking ahead to the next chapter in its plan to send astronauts back to the Moon. The agency’s Orion crew capsule successfully splashed down in the Pacific Ocean after its mission on autopilot around the moon and back. The Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville manages NASA’s Artemis program which includes the new rocket that carried Orion. Mission manager Chris Edelen says the next mission will include astronauts who will test the capsule’s life support systems…

“That’s going to be the big objective for Artemis two,” Edelen contends. :When we fly the crew, we’ll be flying the air revitalization system, the CO2 scrubbers, the food system, the water supply system. Those will be the first flight of those systems on Artemis two.”

NASA hopes to land astronauts on the surface of the moon on Artemis-3 in the year 2025. Edelen says there were no people aboard the just completed mission of Orion.

“We do maintain a pressurized environment. Again, reasonable temperature for the systems to operate. But, we’re not really testing the life support components on this flight. That’s going to be the big objective for Artemis two.”

The end of Orion’s mission around the Moon comes just days after the fiftieth anniversary of the launch of Apollo 17 in 1972. Astronauts Gene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt left the final footprints on the lunar surface before heading back to Earth. Orion landed naer Baja, California after stormy weather near San Diego prompted NASA to move the splashdown farther south.

Pat Duggins is news director for Alabama Public Radio.
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