The NASA Artemis spacecraft has arrived at the moon.
After sweeping 130 km (80 miles) above the lunar surface, the Orion spacecraft has now begun to enter a broader orbit.
The manoeuvre began at 12:44 GMT and was performed on the far side of the moon, thus the vehicle lost touch for 34 minutes.
Along with the communication, the spacecraft also relayed a photograph of the planet. According to NASA, the mission has so far “exceeded expectations” since it was launched last week.
“This is one of those days that you think about and dream about for a very, very long time,” NASA flight director Zebulon Scoville remarked.
This morning, as we prepared to take people to the moon in a few years by circumnavigating it in the next human-rated vehicle, we saw the Earth set behind the moon. This modifies the scenery.
The spacecraft passed over the sites of Apollo 11, 12, and 14 as it drew nearer.
On Wednesday, the Artemis mission was launched from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center using the most powerful rocket NASA has ever created.
Orion was sent on a course to the Moon by it. The capsule has already sent back many selfies from its journey.
Three manikins outfitted with thousands of sensors are flying in place of astronauts because this flight is a test.
The European Space Agency is likewise keeping a careful eye on the spacecraft. There is where the Orion service module is built, which provides power and propulsion during the journey.
Along for the ride with Esa is the British stop-motion animation character Shaun the Sheep. For the ride, Shaun is restrained. The NASA mascot, Snoopy, can be seen circling in the crew capsule’s cockpit.
After this close encounter, Orion will now swing much farther away as it begins to orbit the Moon.
When it reaches a distance of 400,171 kilometres (248,655 miles) from the planet on November 26, it will break the previous record for distance set by Apollo 13’s mission.
In two days, it will have travelled farther than 430,000 kilometres (270,000 miles) from our planet, breaking the previous record for a spacecraft designed for humans.
Before landing on Earth on December 11 in the Pacific Ocean, the spacecraft will then begin its return journey, heading back toward the moon.