The capsule approached the lunar orbit at a distance of 81 miles.
On Monday, the moon’s surface was within 81 miles of NASA’s new Orion crew spacecraft. The Apollo II landing site, Tranquility Base, where astronauts first touched down in 1969, was in the capsule’s path.
The flight is the first major mission of Artemis I.
The NASA Artemis I mission, the first significant mission in the organization’s goal to deliver the first woman and first person of color to the moon, launched early from Florida on November 16 and includes the moon approach.
The new spacecraft Artemis I am testing equipment that NASA will employ to carry people to the moon in the future; there is no crew on board.
Orion must be launched into an extended orbit known as a “far retrograde orbit” using a series of engine firings as well as the moon’s gravity.