NASA’s Orion has reached the moon, with the capsule set to spend close to a week in lunar orbit before heading home.
NASA capsule buzzes lunar surface
NASA’s Orion capsule has reached the moon, whipping around the far side and buzzing the lunar surface on its way to a record-breaking orbit with test dummies sitting in for astronauts.
It is the first time a capsule has visited the moon since NASA’s Apollo program 50 years ago, and represents a huge milestone in the $US4.1 billion ($A6.2 billion) test flight that began last Wednesday.
The close approach of 130km occurred as the crew capsule and its three wired-up dummies were on the far side of the moon.
Because of a half-hour communication blackout, flight controllers in Houston did not know if the critical engine firing went well until the capsule emerged from behind the moon, 370,000km from earth.