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ARTEMIS Spacecraft First to Enter New Type of Orbit
August 25, 2010
Illustration of Artemis-P1 liberations orbits. > View larger
Illustration of Artemis-P1 liberations orbits. Credit: NASA Goddard

The full Moon yesterday evening helped light the way for NASA's ARTEMIS-P1 to become the first spacecraft successfully placed into an Earth-Moon libration orbit.

At 12:33 a.m. on August 25 NASA engineers, in association with the University of Berkeley Space Sciences Laboratory operations facility, performed a propulsion maneuver to capture ARTEMIS-P1 into the Earth-Moon L2 Lagrangian point, located on the far side of the Moon from Earth about 38,100 miles (61,300 km) above the lunar surface. The orbit is unique because it relies on a precise balancing of the Sun, Earth, and Moon's gravity.

In October, its sister spacecraft – ARTEMIS-P2 – will be captured into the Earth-Moon L1 Lagrangian point located between the Earth and Moon.

Susan Hendrix
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

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