• NASA's Orion spacecraft is nearing the end of its testing campaign
  • NASA will host two events this week for the Orion spacecraft
  • Orion's first mission is an unmanned test flight around the Moon

NASA is nearing the end of the testing campaign for its Orion spacecraft. It will be used in the agency’s upcoming mission to the Moon under its Artemis spaceflight program.

Orion’s first mission will be called Artemis 1, which will be an uncrewed flight test around the Moon. Artemis 1 will certify if NASA’s systems and equipment are prepared for a future crewed space mission.

In preparation for Artemis 1, NASA subjected the Orion spacecraft into a three-month testing program at its facility in Ohio. According to the agency, the spacecraft was exposed to various extreme environments that were designed to replicate the conditions it will encounter in its first test flight.

“NASA’s Orion spacecraft, a critical part of the agency’s Artemis I mission, is nearing the end of a three-month testing campaign at the agency's Plum Brook Station in Sandusky, Ohio,” the agency said in a statement. “During the testing, the craft was subjected to the extreme temperatures and electromagnetic environment it will experience in its upcoming test mission to the Moon.”

To celebrate Orion’s latest milestone, NASA will host two special events this week at the Plum Brook Station. The first event will take place in March. It will provide members of the media to see the Orion spacecraft and its various features, such as its service and crew modules.

The second event will be held on March 14, which will mark the end of Orion’s testing campaign. Various officials from NASA will be present at the event to discuss the tests conducted on Orion. The spacecraft will then be prepped for its departure from Plum Brook Station. It will be transported to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida in preparation for its upcoming launch.

Orion’s Artemis 1 mission is expected to take place on April 18, 2021. As an unmanned test flight, Artemis 1 will help prepare NASA for Orion’s first crewed mission known as Artemis 2, which is planned to launch sometime during the fourth quarter of 2022.

For Artemis 2, the crew of the Orion spacecraft will spend 21 days orbiting the Moon. It will then be followed by Artemis 3, which will serve as NASA’s first crewed lunar landing mission since the Apollo program. According to the agency, Artemis 3 will launch sometime in 2024.

NASA's Orion spacecraft for the Artemis mission is wrapped up and being loaded into the Super Guppy aircraft. NASA