LOS ANGELES, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) -- NASA's Orion spacecraft has left its distant lunar orbit and is on its return journey back to Earth, according to NASA.
Orion conducted an engine burn on Thursday to propel the spacecraft out of its distant lunar orbit.
The burn is one of two maneuvers required ahead of Orion's splashdown in the Pacific Ocean on Dec. 11, according to NASA.
The second will occur on Dec. 5, when the spacecraft will fly 126.7 kilometers (79.2 miles) above the lunar surface and perform the return powered flyby burn, which will commit Orion on its course toward Earth.
Orion was launched onboard NASA's Space Launch System rocket on Nov. 16 from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The Artemis I flight test is an uncrewed mission around the moon that will pave the way for a crewed flight test and future human lunar exploration as part of NASA's Artemis lunar program.