Orion’s Optical Navigation Camera Captures Black And White Photo Of Earth

NASA’s Orion spacecraft, which is currently stationed at the lunar orbit, has captured a black and white photo of Earth.

The space capsule snapped the picture on November 17, a day after it was launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

Orion captured the photo using its optical navigation camera.

Taking the imagery of the Earth and the Moon at different phases and distances using the highly powerful camera helps establish its effectiveness as a way of determining its position in space for future missions under differing lighting conditions.

The Orion spacecraft is now on its eighth day into the Artemis I mission, a flight test around the Moon, paving the way for astronauts to fly on future missions.

A giant rocket carrying Orion spacecraft arrived at the lunar orbit on Monday, passing the moon about 81 miles above the surface.

It is the closest approach of the uncrewed Artemis I mission to Moon, before moving into a distant retrograde orbit around Earth’s only natural satellite.

The team at the White Flight Control Room at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston continued testing the spacecraft’s star trackers to determine their sensitivity to thermal variations as part of planned testing, and engineers used the optical navigation system to gather additional imagery of the Moon.

The star trackers and optical navigation system are part of Orion’s advanced guidance, navigation, and control system, responsible for always knowing where the spacecraft is located in space, which way it’s pointed, and where it’s going. It even controls the propulsion system to keep the spacecraft on the correct path. The optical navigation can serve later in this mission and in future missions as a backup, ensuring a safe trip home should the spacecraft lose communications.

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