Orion spacecraft getting ready for first flight - WFLA News Channel 8

Orion spacecraft getting ready for first flight

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Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana stands in front of the Orion spacecraft that will make its first test flight in 2014. Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana stands in front of the Orion spacecraft that will make its first test flight in 2014.
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER (WFLA) -

The Orion spacecraft is being assembled at Kennedy Space Center's Operations and Check Out building. It may look like the Apollo Command Module of the 1960s, but this spaceship was designed from the ground up with the latest technology.

There have been some bumps in the road. During a pressure test, engineers discovered cracks in the hull, and are now working to fix those leaks.

Lockheed Martin program manager Jules Schneider says, "it's the first time this configuration has ever been built and tested. It wasn't a planned event but it wasn't an event that set us back significantly."

Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana says now that they've moved on from the space shuttle program the success of Orion is crucial to the future of NASA and the space center.

"Orion is critical to our future between [the space launch system] and [multi-purpose crew vehicle]. We need it alright. We want to explore beyond planet Earth this is our vehicle that is going to do that."

NASA contractors are also busy building the space launch system rocket that will carry Orion to the Moon and beyond.

The test flight next year will use a Delta IV heavy rocket, to send the spacecraft into two orbits, 36 hundred miles above the Earth.

The idea is to replicate the speeds Orion will reach on the way back from the Moon.

Scott Wilson is the Orion productions operations manager. He says:

"One of the big tests objectives we have for this flight is understanding the thermal protection system. Understanding how all of the avionics systems and the software that we put together and the vehicles structure itself handle a flight."

After a few test flights, NASA will then launch a four man crew to the Moon in 2021.

 

 

 

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