NASA lost contact with the Orion spacecraft on Wednesday (23/11), even though this unmanned aircraft has been operating smoothly since its launch on Wednesday (16/11) last week.
However, on Wednesday (23/11), the mission control center experienced a loss of communication with the plane, at 01.09 EST or 13.09 WIB to be exact. That communication was lost while the team was reconfiguring the link between the capsule and the Deep Space Network, the collection of radio dishes NASA uses to talk to very distant spacecraft.
“Reconfiguration has been successfully performed several times in recent days, and the team is currently investigating the cause of the loss of signal,” NASA officials wrote in a statement on Wednesday (23/11), as quoted Space.
“The team resolved the issue by reconfiguring it on the Earth side,” they added.
The communication problem lasted for 47 minutes until Orion finally returned to normal.
Orion is now preparing for an important maneuver, namely the combustion of the engine which is scheduled for today (25/11). The combustion of this engine will put the capsule into orbit around the Moon. If all goes well, Orion will remain in orbit for about a week, then return to Earth on December 1.
The capsule will later parachute and land in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California on December 11.
The fate of the cubesat
Apart from the Orion spacecraft, communication problems also affected one of the cubesats, namely the Near-Earth Asteroid (NEA) Scout cubesat. This cubesat is one of 10 cubesats launched during the Artemis 1 mission.
The cubesat is designed to fly under the sun and pass by a small asteroid dubbed GE 2020 about a year from now. However, NASA reportedly found a problem with this cubesat.
“Following the successful separation and deployment of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) on November 16, the Near-Earth Asteroid Scout (NEA Scout) project team has not established communication with the spacecraft,” NASA officials wrote in an emailed statement. Space.
“The team is continuing to work to initiate contact with NEA Scouts,” he continued.
In particular, the NEA Scout team hoped the spacecraft’s unusual propulsion strategy could help them track the cubesat.
If the mission goes well, NEA Scout plans to deploy its 86 meter reflective screen in early December. Then this cubesat will take advantage of the sun’s radiation hitting it to observe asteroids.
Instead, despite not having heard back from the NEA Scout cubesat, NASA personnel broadcast orders for “emergency solar sail deployment” twice on Monday (21/11) in the hope that the highly visible display might help them locate the cubesat.
“If the spacecraft listens and manages to unlock its sails, it can be seen through telescopes on Earth,” NASA officials wrote.
“Several ground-based observatories are searching for the NEA Scout and sharing data, which will be invaluable in helping determine the status of this spacecraft,” he added.