EM-1 Orion Processing at Kennedy Space Center

Latest from NASA on preparations for Orion's processing at Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout building high bay for Exploration Mission-1:

"NASA's Orion crew module is being prepared for its first uncrewed integrated flight test atop the Space Launch System rocket. Inside the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building high bay at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, a variety of test stands, processing bays and hardware are in view. Thermal protection panels and other components for Orion are in various stages of processing. Orion will launch on the SLS rocket from Kennedy's Launch Pad 39B on Exploration Mission-1. The spacecraft will travel thousands of miles beyond the Moon over the course of about a three-week period. Orion will return to Earth and splashdown in the Pacific Ocean."

Picture from NASA: https://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/orion-processing-continues-for-nasas-exploration-mission-1

Picture from NASA: https://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/orion-processing-continues-for-nasas-exploration-mission-1

Orion Parachute Testing Continues

Even after its successful EFT-1 return from space, engineers have continued testing on Orion's parachutes to simulate a range of conditions it may experience on reentry from deep space.  Earlier this month, engineers tested a scenario in which is was subjected to extreme loads.  More from NASA:

"During this test, engineers replicated a situation in which Orion must abort off the Space Launch System rocket and bypass part of its normal parachute deployment sequence that typically helps the spacecraft slow down during its descent to Earth after deep space missions. The capsule was dropped out of a C-17 aircraft at more than 4.7 miles in altitude and allowed to free fall for 20 seconds, longer than ever before, to produce high aerodynamic pressure before only its pilot and main parachutes were deployed, testing whether they could perform as expected under extreme loads. Orion’s full parachute system includes 11 total parachutes -- three forward bay cover parachutes and two drogue parachutes, along with three pilot parachutes that help pull out the spacecraft’s three mains."

For more information:  https://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/orion-parachutes-measure-up-in-high-pressure-test

For more information:  https://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/orion-parachutes-measure-up-in-high-pressure-test

Powering up Orion for EM-1!

Last week, Lockheed Martin and NASA powered on the Orion spacecraft that will be launched on Exploration Mission-1.   According to NASA:

“'The initial power-on procedure verified the health and status of Orion’s core computers and power and data units and marks the beginning of critical spacecraft subsystem tests to get us ready for flight,' said Mark Kirasich, NASA Orion program manager. 'Our test team, ground support equipment and flight systems all performed remarkably well during the test. This is a major milestone for Orion and for our long range deep space exploration plans.'

"During the initial power-on tests, engineers and technicians connected the vehicle management computers to Orion’s power and data units to ensure the systems communicate precisely with one another to accurately route power and functional commands throughout the spacecraft for the duration of a deep-space exploration mission. In spaceflight, Orion will generate power through its four solar array wings which collectively hold about 15,000 solar cells that can harness enough electricity to power eight three-bedroom homes. The power and data units then distribute that power as needed throughout the spacecraft."

For more information: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/power-up-system-tests-prepare-orion-for-deep-space-exploration

orion_power-on.jpg

SLS-Orion Spin Offs

Great NASA summary of the spin-offs from the SLS and Orion programs: 

"NASA’s Orion spacecraft is designed to take astronauts farther than anyone has ever gone before: to the moon, an asteroid, and even Mars. To propel Orion into space, NASA is also developing what will be the most powerful rocket ever built, the Space Launch System (SLS). SLS and Orion will provide entirely new capabilities and will initiate the next chapter of our nation’s exploration of the solar system. All of this will be powered by cutting-edge technology that has applications not only in space but on Earth as well: advanced materials, manufacturing techniques, design software, and life support equipment are just a few of the many spinoffs that have already come from Orion and SLS—with many more sure to come."

For more information, visit: https://spinoff.nasa.gov/flyers/orion.htm