NASA's Orion capsule makes its closest approach to moon
The uncrewed Orion capsule of NASA's Artemis I mission sailed within 80 miles (130 km) of the lunar surface on Monday, achieving the closest approach to the moon for a spacecraft built to carry humans since Apollo 17 flew half a century ago.
The capsule's lunar flyby, on the return leg of its debut voyage, came a week after Orion reached its farthest point in space, nearly 270,000 miles from Earth while midway through its 25-day mission, the U.S. space agency said on its website.
Orion passed about 79 miles above the lunar surface on Monday as the spacecraft fired its thrusters for a "powered flyby burn," designed to change the vehicle's velocity and set it on course for its flight back to Earth.
NASA said the 3-1/2-minute burn would mark the last major spaceflight maneuver for Orion before it was due to parachute into the sea and splash down on Dec. 11.