[meteorite-list] NASA's Orion Spacecraft Comes to Life

From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Mon, 28 Oct 2013 10:22:01 -0700 (PDT)
Message-ID: <201310281722.r9SHM1iQ020043_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>

October 28, 2013

Rachel Kraft
Headquarters, Washington
rachel.h.kraft at nasa.gov

Brandi Dean
Johnson Space Center, Houston
brandi.k.dean at nasa.gov
RELEASE 13-313
NASA's Orion Spacecraft Comes to Life

NASA's first-ever deep space craft, Orion, has been powered on for the first
time, marking a major milestone in the final year of preparations for flight.

Orion's avionics system was installed on the crew module and powered up for a
series of systems tests at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida last week.
Preliminary data indicate Orion's vehicle management computer, as well as its
innovative power and data distribution system -- which use state-of-the-art
networking capabilities -- performed as expected.

All of Orion's avionics systems will be put to the test during its first
mission, Exploration Flight Test-1(EFT-1), targeted to launch in the fall of

"Orion will take humans farther than we've ever been before, and in just
about a year we're going to send the Orion test vehicle into space," said Dan
Dumbacher, NASA's deputy associate administrator for exploration systems
development in Washington. "The work we're doing now, the momentum we're
building, is going to carry us on our first trip to an asteroid and
eventually to Mars. No other vehicle currently being built can do that, but
Orion will, and EFT-1 is the first step."

Orion provides the United States an entirely new human space exploration
capability -- a flexible system that can to launch crew and cargo missions,
extend human presence beyond low-Earth orbit, and enable new missions of
exploration throughout our solar system.

EFT-1 is a two-orbit, four-hour mission that will send Orion, uncrewed, more
than 3,600 miles above the Earth's surface --15 times farther than the
International Space Station. During the test, Orion will return to Earth,
enduring temperatures of 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit while traveling 20,000
miles per hour, faster than any current spacecraft capable of carrying
humans. The data gathered during the flight will inform design decisions,
validate existing computer models and guide new approaches to space systems
development. The information gathered from this test also will aid in
reducing the risks and costs of subsequent Orion flights.

"It's been an exciting ride so far, but we're really getting to the good
part now," said Mark Geyer, Orion program manager. "This is where we start to
see the finish line. Our team across the country has been working hard to
build the hardware that goes into Orion, and now the vehicle and all our
plans are coming to life."

Throughout the past year, custom-designed components have been arriving at
Kennedy for installation on the spacecraft -- more than 66,000 parts so far.
The crew module portion already has undergone testing to ensure it will
withstand the extremes of the space environment. Preparation also continues
on the service module and launch abort system that will be integrated next
year with the Orion crew module for the flight test.

The completed Orion spacecraft will be installed on a Delta IV heavy rocket
for EFT-1. NASA is also developing a new rocket, the Space Launch System,
which will power subsequent missions into deep space, beginning with
Exploration Mission-1 in 2017.

For information about Orion and EFT-1, visit:


Received on Mon 28 Oct 2013 01:22:01 PM PDT

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