Second ARTEMIS Spacecraft Successfully Enters Lunar Orbit
The ARTEMIS P2 spacecraft was successfully inserted into lunar orbit at 8:24 PM ET on July 17, 2011. The insertion process took three hours and 20 minutes and was overseen by flight engineers from NASA Goddard, UC Berkeley, and NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab. Over the next three months a series of period reduction maneuvers will move the spacecraft into an orbit of 27.5 hours, similar to the P1 orbit but moving in the opposite direction.
The two ARTEMIS spacecraft are healthy and are expected to continue to return science data for several years. The satellites will fly close to the lunar surface once per orbit – approaching anywhere from within 12 to 240 miles of the surface depending on the iteration – in a belt ranging 20 degrees above and below the equator.
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A simulation of the ARTEMIS P2 entering lunar orbit viewed from the perspective of the spacecraft. Credit: NASA/Goddard/D. Folta
› ARTEMIS Spacecraft Prepare for Lunar Orbit
› Additional ARTEMIS orbit images/video
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center