Friday was beginning quite early for Mausonaut and Mission Control as an important maneuver had to be conducted. The spaceship was travelling so far on an elliptical orbit almost reaching the Moon. To actually reach the Moon the spaceship needed an additional push at the right moment. This moment was at 5:04 AM CEST. Mausonaut ignited the main engine for 34 seconds.
Now the spaceship with Mausonaut was on the direct way to fly around the Moon. During the approach Mausonaut was able to shoot some interesting images from the surface of the Moon. During the downlink of the final image the connection to Mausonaut was lost at about 8:42 PM CEST. This occured a few minutes earlier than expected. Now the ship with Mausonaut was flying behind the Moon and no connection to Earth was possible anymore. This was another historic moment for the moused spaceflight – for the first time in history a mouse was flying behind the Moon.
After 25 very long minutes Mausonaut was able to talk to Mission control again: „Hello! … Hello! … Hello Earth! Do you hear me?“. The critical phase of flying around the Moon was over when this call was reaching the listeners on Earth. Mausonaut was on the way back to Earth.
The working day for Mausonaut was already quite long. But it was not over yet. An important maneuver was planned to optimize the return of Mausonaut to Earth. With the current course the capsule with Mausonaut would have landed shortly before midnight on Monday in the Pacific. As you know a recovery of a capsule from the ocean is not an easy task especially during the night. Fortunately, there was a lot of fuel left in the Service Module of the ship to improve timing and location of the touchdown. So Mausonaut ignited the main engine at 11:02 PM CEST for 264 seconds. With this maneuver the spacehip was now on the fast lane back to Earth and is expected to land on Monday about 10 hours earlier. The landing location has moved to Spain. Finally, the historic but exhausting Friday was over for Mausonaut after carrying out this successful maneuver.
After all the stress during the past few days Mausonaut deserves well to have a free day on Saturday. Mausonaut is relaxing in the space capsule, listens to music and watches out of the windows into deep space. Is Mausonaut already dreaming about the next space mission?
A small course correction is planned in the coming night. The experts in Mission Control are still determing the exact parameters for the engine burn.
The mission director
Happy independence day to all the readers in the U.S.A.