back to article NASA's Orion Moon capsule to splash down this Sunday

NASA's crewless Orion capsule is all set to return to Earth and splash down in the Pacific Ocean on Sunday, December 11 after spending nearly a month orbiting the Moon. Orion has been hurtling toward home, and will reach speeds of 25,000 miles per hour (11.2 kilometres per second) as it gets closer and closer. When the pod …

  1. Swordfish1

    NASA coverage is a joke

    Artemis one tracker has been stuck for several hours now

    Typical of a government agency.

    Space X would do a better job and coverage, when they get Star ship sorted

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: NASA coverage is a joke

      I think it is updated periodically by a human operator.

      And it is the weekend.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: NASA coverage is a joke

        The Weekend? Is that important? Didn't James Webb Space telescope launch on Christmas day?

    2. ChoHag Silver badge

      Re: NASA coverage is a joke

      Keep sucking. It'll come eventually.

    3. that one in the corner Silver badge

      Re: NASA coverage is a joke

      I remember a time when people were proud of NASA.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Last stretch

    After the overall success of the mission, it would be a shame if something goes amiss with either the parachutes or heat shield. NASA has had plenty of experience of both, although I understand the heat shield is different in these modern-type times, as we might expect.

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Gene Cash Silver badge

    "recover the capsule as soon as it hits the water"

    Actually, no, they're going to let it float a couple hours.

    Most important is how the heatshield cools off and how it interacts with the sea water. And if there's a big heat pulse to the interior.

    They're also going to see how it handles the sea state, if it leaks, and if it's as stable as it's supposed to be,

    Edit: the Apollo CM heatshield was the biggest unknown of the program. Nothing of that size had come back at escape velocity. They simply tripled the amount of shielding they thought they needed, and it turned out they had about 6x what they really needed. They could have saved a LOT of weight.

    Edit part deux: and yes, the coverage has been ABYSMAL. They lost a lot of public enthusiasm, I think.

  5. Petalium

    Is the Reg making a subtle joke with the unit conversions ? Or have they hired a liberal arts student to write this?

    I especially like the “ Slowing down from km/s to m/s” forcing me to some math in my head to get the scale right.

    I’m on vacation damn it, yes that’s my brain floating in the gin and tonic, please don’t take it away my dear waiter.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Simple rule of thumb:

      If it's a round number in US customary units, it's been rounded by the PR dept and you should look up the real value.

      NASA are metric.

      1. Totally not a Cylon


        If it's a suspiciously round number in either set of units then it's been rounded by PR.

        Orbital mechanics doesn't fit either set of units and give nice round numbers......

        Oh, NASA's primary audience is the average US Citizen who thinks in Miles, Gallons & Fahrenheit. Your favourite search engine can quickly provide conversions between units; why complain that they are not given in your favourite?

        1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          It's not a question of favorite, it's science and should therefor be expressed in proper scientific units.

          Those who cannot grok science can go and convert into toes and elbows.

        2. Richard 12 Silver badge

          If it's rounded in metric, then it was done by an engineer and is likely to have a meaningful level of precision.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Which makes an bigger mess when El Reg then convert a round 300 mph into KM/s to the nearest 10th. God knows what the actual speed is since the first is a rough rounding at best.

    2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Reg Standards to the rescue

      25,000 mph = 0.3728

      300 mph = 0.0045

      ... % of the maximum velocity of a sheep in a vacuum.

  6. Magani

    Pedant alert

    "...USS Portland, an amphibious ship..."

    I think you'll find that while the USS Portland may carry amphibious vehicles, it is not actually capable of operating on land.

    1. jollyboyspecial Silver badge

      Re: Pedant alert

      For some reason the military call landing craft amphibious.

      The military like to use words to mean something other than their original meaning. I think it's something to do with the old British army saying BBB - bullshit baffles brains

      1. graeme leggett Silver badge

        Re: Pedant alert

        landing craft are used for amphibious warfare but unless they drive up onto the beach they are not referred to as amphibious eg the Amphibious Assault Vehicle ( previously called "Landing Vehicle, Tracked, Personnel")

        USS Portland is an amphibious warfare vessel of the type sometimes known as "landing platform, dock"

  7. Malcolm Weir

    Welp, now we know.

    It worked.

    1. jake Silver badge

      No, we know it splashed down, and is floating.

      We have no idea whether or not the interior has been torched.

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        I'd hope that the telemetry would show that.

        Still, things look good so far. The last moon landing was 50 years ago yesterday (and I remember it, which is vaguely depressing), we're long overdue for a return.

        1. jake Silver badge

          I'm sure the telemetry does show that. Trouble is all external communications aides ("antennae") will have been turned to slag during reentry. Once down and floating, the Apollo astronauts tapped on the hull to tell the divers they were alright, no need to hurry.

  8. Winkypop Silver badge

    “Bill Nelson, NASA's administrator”

    Is he the grandson of Major Nelson, and did they find a mysterious looking bottle?

  9. Lordrobot Bronze badge

    How great is this... It's 1968 again!

    Watching the capsule drop into the ocean... garnered all the excitement of a damp squib. The shape of the thing was the same old shape of the thing from the late 60s, 54 years ago... nothing has changed. This isn't a better idea. It is the same old rehash idea. More nostalgia anodyne bromide for those that think this 8 Billion dollar mission was anything other than a waste of dough. Japan failed to launch its rover to the moon... spark plug wires or something... Some Japanese engineer probably gave himself an appendectomy after this humiliation.

    So this is diversity engineering and it just caught up to 1968... and NASA video was as good as super8 gear gets when it was turned on that is, when it wasn't being ignored completely. So that was selling the sizzle in 68... the only thing missing was B&W Cathode Ray Televisions.

    But it did demonstrate one thing... how utterly unnecessary astronauts are to the navigation and driving this "SPACE CAPSULE"

  10. Antony Shepherd

    Nostalgia for the oldies.

    Yeah, that title does include me. As someone who watched every bit of Apollo footage from back in the day watching the three big red and white parachutes as the capsule slowly descended to splashdown was pretty much a nostalgia thing. Sure, it seems like a backward step from the Shuttle, but wings on a spacecraft are just wasted weight and this can go beyond lower Earth orbit.

    That said, would we learn any more from sending people up in this than from sending a robot probe which doesn't need food, water, or air? Especially if the plan is (as it was back in the olden days) to continue to Mars where the time taken to get there would disadvantage fragile meatbags much more.

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