Orion capsule bounces off atmosphere to complete hottest and fastest reentry ever, capping off NASA’s Artemis 1 mission

NASA’s Orion capsule has survived the hottest and fastest reentry ever performed by a spacecraft by intentionally skipping off the atmosphere before splashing down off the coast of Baja California, Mexico. 

The uncrewed capsule, which launched Nov. 16 atop the 30-story Space Launch System “mega moon rocket” as part of NASA’s $20 billion Artemis 1 mission, made its triumphant return from its 26-day, record-breaking, 1.4 million-mile (2.2 million kilometers) round trip to the moon at 12:40 p.m. EST this afternoon (Dec. 11). The “textbook entry” of the uncrewed capsule, which can hold six crewmembers, is the climactic finale of a nearly flawless test mission. The next time the rocket flies, it will be with humans on board. 

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