Blog Space 09 September 2014

NASA's deep-space vehicle Orion on track for test mission


NASA’s first completed Orion crew module sits on top of its service module at the Neal Armstrong Operations and Checkout Facility at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The crew and service module will be transferred together on Wednesday to another facility for fueling, before moving again for the installation of the launch abort system.
NASA/RAD SINYAK
NASA's next-generation deep-space spacecraft Orion – designed to take humans further than they’ve ever gone before – is in the final stages of preparation for its maiden flight in December.

That flight, which will be unmanned, will take Orion nearly 6,000km above the Earth for 4.5 hours. It will travel higher than any mission since the last Moon landing by Apollo 17 in 1972.

The video below is an animation that talks you through the mission that is specifically designed to test high speed re-entry systems such as avionics, attitude control, parachutes and the heat shield that will be needed on return from deep-space.

Orion will make two orbits of the Earth before re-entering the atmosphere at 32,000kph ahead of a splashdown in the Pacific.

Orion is being built by Lockheed Martin for NASA, and Airbus Defence and Space for the European Space Agency for crewed missions to the Moon, asteroids and Mars. Each Orion spacecraft is projected to carry a crew of two to six astronauts.

NASA has lots more information and resources on its website here.


  1. http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/systems/mpcv/index.html
Latest Stories
MoreMore Articles