NASA’s Orion is a spacecraft that will send mankind farther than ever before – to an asteroid, to Mars and beyond - and then there are the local trips, to the ISS or our outpost on the Moon, whatever NASA has planned, Orion is up to the task. People should be excited; people should be applauding, but unfortunately not all people are aware.
In December there is a test flight. Previously there were ‘many’ Orions each faced different tests. The different service modules were put through tough testing in their individual areas. Case & Point, a test version of NASA’s Orion spacecraft made the decent under its three main parachutes. After Orions freefall the forward bay cover parachutes deployed perfectly as it must clear the forward bay cover basically showing itself to be a critical part of the entire process. None the less, test was a success as were all the other tests on all the other service modules.
This well planned method has allowed for the final test of the actual Orion spacecraft to occur. On or about December 4th a top a Delta IV heavy rocket at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Space Launch Complex 37 Orion will fly. The flight test is called “Exploration Flight Test and offers the first time everything gets tested under real conditions and together. This test will evaluate launch and high speed re-entry systems such as avionics, attitude control, parachutes and the heat shield.
Video of Orion tests;
The spacecraft will be unmanned for this December’s test flight which in itself is a cool test. The Orion spacecraft will fly 3600 miles into space. But when Orion visits the Moon and our outpost there the intention is that everyone goes down to the moon – no one has to stay behind and mind the ship, NASAs got that handled. The total people going down to the Moon? Anywhere from 2-6astronauts. In December
It is capable of providing emergency abort if necessary, can sustain a crew with living quarters for up to 21 days, and provide safe reentry when return from deep space at the velocities that entails. Now should the crew need living quarters for more time then 21 days – and let’s face it what kind of Deep Space traveling can be done without that much time, then NASA has an additional habitat that wil provide extra space.
In the future launches will be on top of NASA’s own heavy lift rocket, the Space Launch System (beginning in 2017).