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Home sweet home

Orion capsule being lifted onto the ship that took it back to shore


On Sunday, December 11, at around 11:40 a.m. Central Time, the Orion capsule landed in the Pacific Ocean near the island of Guadalupe, Mexico, after orbiting the Moon for almost 25 days. Orion’s return was the final stage of Artemis I, the first in a series of NASA missions that aim to return astronauts to the Moon. The capsule, occupied only by dummies, entered the planet’s atmosphere at a speed of 40,000 kilometers per hour (km/h) and was slowed by parachutes until it reached the ocean surface at around 30 km/h. The spacecraft’s reentry into the atmosphere served to test its heat shield, which withstood temperatures of around 2,800 degrees Celsius. Data collected during the flight is essential for planning future missions. NASA plans to launch Artemis II in 2024, which will take astronauts into the Moon’s orbit, and then at some point after 2025, Artemis III will aim to land on the lunar surface.