View of ESA’s European Service Module that is powering NASA’s Orion spacecraft, pointing at our planet and the Moon, taken on the 13th day of flight for the Artemis I mission at 22:06 CET (21:06 GMT), 28 November 2022.


It shows Orion and the European Service Module halfway through the Artemis I mission near its maximum distance from Earth, at 432210 km from our home planet and over 64 000 km from the Moon. Seen from the spacecraft our planet had just passed behind the Moon when this photo was taken, as Orion was in lunar orbit.

This picture was presented to French President Emmanuel Macron during his visit to NASA’s headquarters in Washington D.C., USA, on 30 November.

Cameras placed at the end of Orion’s four European-built solar array wings are recording the Artemis mission as engineers test the uncrewed Orion spacecraft’s capabilities, preparing for missions with astronauts to the Moon.

After its launch on November 16, Orion has circled the Moon on its 25-day Artemis I mission. Orion was launched by the NASA Space Launch System rocket at 7:47 CET (06:47 GMT) from launchpad 39B at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida,

The European Service Module is powering Orion, providing propulsion, temperature control, electricity as well as storage and delivery for essential supplies such as fuel, water and air. The uncrewed mission to learn as much as possible about Orion and its European Service Module’s performance. The primary objectives are to demonstrate Orion’s heat shield on reentry, demonstrate operations and facilities during all mission phases, and retrieve the spacecraft after splashdown.

NASA Human Spaceflight