NASA's Orion Capsule Breaks Record Set in 1970

Spacecraft designed to carry humans has now gone further than Apollo 13
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 26, 2022 9:54 AM CST
NASA's Orion Capsule Breaks Record Set in 1970
This image provided by NASA shows flight Day 9 imagery that NASA's Orion spacecraft captured looking back at the Earth from a camera mounted on one of its solar arrays.   (NASA via AP)

Moonikin Campos, the mannequin in the commander's seat of NASA's Orion capsule, has now traveled further into space than any human. The uncrewed capsule broke a record around 8:40am EST Saturday when it reached 248,655 miles from Earth, the distance reached by the Apollo 13 command module Odyssey on April 14, 1970, reports. Orion, which passed the moon on Monday, has now gone further into space than any spacecraft designed to carry humans and it will keep going until it reaches a distance of almost 270,000 miles from Earth.

"It is a statistic, but it’s symbolic for what it represents," says Jim Geffre, an Orion manager, per the AP. "It’s about challenging ourselves to go farther, stay longer and push beyond the limits of what we’ve previously explored." Orion will spend around a week in lunar orbit, completing half an orbit, before returning to Earth on Dec. 11. NASA says this mission, Artemis I, is a rehearsal for a crewed moon fly-by in the Artemis II mission 2024, to be followed by a lunar landing possibly as soon as 2025—the first in 50 years.

Moonikin Campos, whose spacesuit has sensors to monitor radiation levels is the only full-sized mannequin on board. Two other mannequin torsos, Zohar and Helga, are made from materials that NASA says "mimic human bones, soft tissues and organs of an adult female," the Washington Post reports. Campos is named after Arturo Campos, a late NASA electrical engineer who played a major role in devising a solution to get the Apollo 13 astronauts back to Earth safely after a mid-flight explosion. The Apollo 13 reached the then-record distance because it used the moon's gravity to slingshot the spacecraft back to Earth as quickly as possible, notes. (Read more spacecraft stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.