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Default Orion EFT-1, Delta IV Heavy, December 4th, 2014.
by Kyle 01-28-2012, 03:16 PM

Felt that now that we're in 2012, that I should make a thread dedicating to the processing into the EFT-1 (formerly known as the OFT-1) flight mission of the Orion MPCV capsule's maiden voyage on a Delta IV Heavy, targeted for now Spring 2014. This thread for the next few years will be dedicated to updates only, so please leave discussions on the future of NASA's Space Launch System program out of here.

SOURCE OF ARTICLE: http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2012/...-negotiations/

Quote:
The mission was initially targeting for July, 2013 – before slipping to October, 2013 – per Lockheed Martin updates relating to the EFT-1 launch date (L2 Link). However, it was noted at that time that Orion/MPCV (Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle) teams outside of JSC were speaking of December, 2013 at earliest, with a likely slip into 2014.
....

“NASA has a one-time requirement for critical performance data from an integrated flight test of the Orion spacecraft as part of the Orion Design, Development, Test and Evaluation (DDT&E) phase,” noted the opening remarks. “The EFT-1 is an early test flight required by early 2014, of the Orion spacecraft that is currently being developed by Lockheed Martin.

“The EFT-1 flight test of the Orion spacecraft is required to facilitate earlier and more robust testing of critical Orion systems that contribute to 10 of the 16 highest risks to crew survivabilitu and exploration mission failure, including parachutes, back shell and heat shield Thermal Protection System, Forward Bay Cover separation contact and flight software.”




 
Launch date: December 4th, 2014
Launch window: 7:05am EST (12:05 UTC) to 9:44am EST (14:44 UTC).
Launch site: SLC-37B, Cape Canaveral, Florida
Payload: EFT-1


Last edited by Kyle; 12-01-2014 at 09:58 PM.
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Old 01-28-2012, 06:38 PM   #2
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Here's hoping it isn't cancelled.
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Old 01-28-2012, 06:56 PM   #3
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I like how this was originally OFT-1 (Orion Flight Test) and has been renamed EFT-1 ('Exploration' Flight Test).

If nothing else, it will be pretty fun sweet justice to see Orion being lifted on an EELV.

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Here's hoping it isn't cancelled.
Well, the launch vehicle exists and the spacecraft is being fabricated, so it is a lot closer to happening than a whole lot of other things that have been cancelled.
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Old 01-28-2012, 07:47 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T.Neo View Post
 Well, the launch vehicle exists and the spacecraft is being fabricated, so it is a lot closer to happening than a whole lot of other things that have been cancelled.
Quite. I want to see Orion fly! It deserves it by now.
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Old 02-12-2012, 04:37 PM   #6
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Fresh picture of the EFT-1, well under construction. Outer shell however, has not been applied yet.
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Old 02-12-2012, 04:58 PM   #7
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Go Orion! The Spacecraft Orion is sooooo cool!!!!
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Old 02-15-2012, 11:38 PM   #8
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NASASpaceflight: EFT-1 Orion hitting construction milestones – first backshell tile manufactured
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Old 02-16-2012, 12:30 AM   #9
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Wow, speedy progress when compared to the GTA, which is to be expected of course.
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Old 02-20-2012, 07:59 PM   #10
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Florida Today: Orion aims for early test flight:
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CAPE CANAVERAL — NASA’s prime contractor for its Orion deep space crew capsule is aiming to launch an early flight test in late 2013 and plans to at least double its work force at Kennedy Space Center between now and then.

In what amounts to a paradigm shift, Lockheed Martin will manufacture Orion spacecraft at the launch site rather than a factory elsewhere — a first for KSC, which still is reeling from the loss of about 9,000 jobs as a result of the shutdown of the space shuttle program.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, a former shuttle pilot and mission commander, said the Lockheed Martin decision to do production work at the KSC Operations & Checkout Building is a game-changer.

“The No. 1 thing about bringing jobs back here to the Kennedy Space Center is that we bring jobs back to this community — high-tech, good-paying jobs that put American workers back to work in something that they know and love,” Bolden said Friday during a visit to KSC.

“The quicker that we can start assembling and building vehicles here, the better it’s going to be for the economic viability of this community, and for the spirit of the people.”

{...}

NASA schedules show the flight test launching in early 2014, and Bolden is not pressing Lockheed Martin to launch earlier. But the contractor is aiming for late 2013 — as early as October, company officials say.

{...}

Spaceflight Now: Florida workforce stands ready for Orion assembly
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Old 02-27-2012, 02:04 PM   #11
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NASASpaceflight: Orion PTV preparing for drop test on Wednesday – EFT-1 Orion progress:
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{...}

The Orion tasked with the EFT-1 mission is already deep into its construction milestones, with work progressing on the timeline at the Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF).

Most of the work taking place this month relates to the “barrel” – or base – of the EFT-1 Orion, as the vehicle’s construction in New Orleans presses towards the 85 percent mark.

“The Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF) team completed the Gore Assembly to the Barrel pathfinder weld and the Center Panel to the Aft Structural Assembly Pathfinder Welds. The closeout weld will be the next pathfinder weld in preparation for final closeout weld operations on the EFT-1 flight unit,” noted the latest Orion status presentation {...}

“The Launch Abort System (LAS) Adapter Cone Mandrel has been completed and delivered to MAF. LAS Mid Ring Deck is being fabricated in the Fiber Placement Machine at MAF.”

Once the construction work has been completed, the “bare” Orion will be sent to the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) for outfitting work.

{...}
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Old 03-06-2012, 08:53 PM   #12
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NASA:
Tile Makers Creating Orion Shield

Mar. 6, 2012

Workers recently began cutting and coating the first thermal protection system tiles – part of the heat shield that will protect an Orion spacecraft during an upcoming flight test which will simulate the re-entry speed and heating of returning from deep space.

The tiles are made of the same material and coating as those used on the space shuttle's belly. On Orion, however, the tiles will be placed along the sides and top of the conical spacecraft. A separate heat shield akin to the ablative design used during Apollo is being developed to protect the bottom of the spacecraft, which will encounter the highest temperatures.

The manufacturing work at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Fla., marks an important time in the progression of the spacecraft following the shuttle's retirement in 2011, said Thermal Protection System, or TPS, engineers Joy Huff and Sarah Cox.

"We're making something that's going to fly again, which is what we were doing for years," Huff said.

There are about 40 people involved in the tile work: 20 to make the tiles and 20 to install them.

"We're at the starting line," Cox said. "It's going to take some time to get all the parts fabricated."

The same shop that manufactured space shuttle tiles will make the 1,300 tiles needed for the Orion flight.

It is not fast work. In fact, workers will spend about 11 months shaping the insulating blocks and laying on a heat-resistant, ceramic coating. They use a 5-axis mill loaded with precise dimensions to cut blank tiles to their shapes. So far, the shop has finished 33 tiles.

Many of the tiles will have special cutouts for instruments to collect data during the flight test. Many fewer cutouts will be needed for future missions.

In an advancement from the shuttle days, each tile's dimensions are sent over digitally from Orion builder Lockheed Martin and the final tile is photographed with a 3-D camera so computers can fit the pieces together virtually before they are placed together physically, Huff said. The details are far more exact than in the past.

"They've had such good success that (technicians) are going to eliminate one pre-fit step," Huff said.

Click on images to enlarge
John Livingston, a United Space Alliance engineer at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, shows the digital image of a heat shield tile that will be used on an Orion spacecraft.
Photo credit: NASA/Frankie Martin
Frank Pelkey, a United Space Alliance technician at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, works with a heat shield tile that will be installed to the backshell of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle's Exploration Flight Test (EFT-1) capsule.
Photo credit: NASA/Frankie Martin
Artist concept of the Orion spacecraft as it will look during the Exploration Flight Test-1 mission.
Image credit: NASA


The comparisons with the tile work for the space shuttles are plentiful. For example, the smaller Orion uses tiles that average 8-inches by 8-inches compared to the shuttle's 6-inches by 6-inches. Also, Orion's design allows for many of the tiles to be the same dimensions with the same part number, but each shuttle tile was a unique configuration unto itself, with individual part numbers.

"That's a huge improvement over shuttle," Huff said. "Even having nine or 10 of the same part is a big improvement."

Perhaps the biggest comparison, though, is the sheer number of tiles involved. A space shuttle heat shield required more than 23,000 tiles to the Orion's 1,300.

"It's smaller, so there's less parts," Cox said.

However, Orion's tiles will be used only once because the spacecraft will splashdown in the ocean, drenching the absorbent tiles. That means that technicians will make and install all 1,300 tiles between Orion missions. Shuttles required 100 to 150 new tiles between flights, Cox said.

Technicians who applied the tiles for the shuttle will bond Orion's tiles, too. That work will start sometime in the summer. The tiles will be connected to nine panels that will be connected to the spacecraft to make the outer skin of the spacecraft.

Although it's a new spacecraft with a new mission, it still calls for many of the same skills the work force at Kennedy used for 30 years of shuttle preparation.

Orion is expected to see significantly hotter re-entry temperatures because it will be slowing down from about 25,000 mph when returning from the moon or some other deep space destination. Space shuttles used their heat shields to slow down from about 17,000 mph, the speed required to stay in orbit around Earth.

"The heat shield has been a very technological challenge and it will continue to be," said Huff, who has been working Orion's TPS development since 2005.

To get to this point, when tiles are being cut that will be used on a mission in space, has given the project more of a sense of being real, the engineers said. They know there is plenty of hard work ahead, but they are happy to see it start.

Huff said, "It's almost a sprint feeling, but it's a marathon length.”

Steven Siceloff, NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center
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Old 03-09-2012, 12:58 PM   #13
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NASA:
NASA's Orion Moves Closer to Next Giant Leap

Mar. 8, 2012

In two years, human space exploration will make its biggest leap in more than four decades.

Lockheed Martin Space Systems will conduct the Orion Exploration Flight Test-1, or EFT-1, in 2014 under contract to NASA. NASA is acquiring the EFT-1 test data for Orion design and development. Lockheed Martin is responsible for performing the flight test and supplying the test data to NASA. The test will launch NASA's Orion spacecraft, without a crew, to an altitude that has not been achieved by a craft intended for human flight since the Apollo lunar landing missions. The milestone test moved closer with the recent selection by Lockheed Martin of the Delta IV Heavy, operated by United Launch Alliance, to launch Orion on the flight.



"We can test parachutes by dropping them from a plane. We can test thrusters in stands on the ground. We can check the splashdown in a water tank. We can test all the pieces and parts, but a space flight is the only place we can see all of these things work together and work under the real conditions they will face with a crew onboard," Orion Program Manager Mark Geyer said.

The EFT-1 flight will take Orion to an altitude of more than 3,600 miles, more than 15 times farther away from Earth than the International Space Station. Orion will return home at a speed almost 5,000 miles per hour faster than any current human spacecraft. It will test the kind of return that will be required when astronauts come home from voyages beyond low Earth orbit. As Orion reenters the atmosphere, it will endure temperatures almost 2,000 degrees F., higher than any human spacecraft since astronauts returned from the Moon.

Exploration Flight Test One Overview.
Credit: NASA
Exploration Flight Test One Ground Track.
Credit: NASA


"This flight test is a challenge. It will be difficult. We have a lot of confidence in our design, but we are certain that we will find out things we do not know," Geyer said. "Having the opportunity to do that early in our development is invaluable, because it will allow us to make adjustments now and address them much more efficiently than if we find changes are needed later. Our measure of success for this test will be in how we apply all of those lessons as we move forward."

The EFT-1 test and the development of Orion are a nationwide effort. In New Orleans, at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility, the initial construction of the Orion spacecraft for EFT-1 is nearing completion. In Florida, at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, teams are readying to receive the spacecraft when it is shipped there in May to begin final assembly and launch preparations.

In Denver, at the Lockheed Martin facility, a full-scale Orion spacecraft test article recently completed acoustic, modal and vibration testing. In Huntsville, Alabama, NASA's Space Launch System team is developing and building a spacecraft adapter, or interface ring that will be tested during EFT-1 and then used during future SLS flights. In Houston, personnel have begun preparing Mission Control for controlling and monitoring the spacecraft throughout the test flight.

In space, the EFT-1 test will serve as a vital check of the majority of Orion’s systems. But on the ground, it also will provide experience and testing that could be gained nowhere else in the construction, assembly, launch preparations and landing operations for Orion.

"There are people coast to coast building and developing Orion. Just as this test will check how it all works together in space, it already has pulled that team together on the ground," Geyer said. "Their diligence, dedication and focus have been tremendous. They have truly excelled, and when the vehicle for this flight moves to the launch site this summer, they will enter the final lap toward this test."

The first integrated flight test, which follows EFT-1, will be an uncrewed Orion that will be launched on the SLS and is set for 2017. That test will put the entire, integrated exploration system that will return humans to deep space travel through its paces. Orion ultimately will carry astronauts to the moon, asteroids or Mars and other deep space destinations.

{...}




Space Fellowship: NASA's Orion Moves Closer to Next Giant Leap
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Old 03-13-2012, 03:13 PM   #14
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EFT-1 Orion parts set for closeout welds – Next parachute test in April

Teams at the Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF) in New Orleans are enjoying a smooth processing flow for the first space-worthy Orion, a critical construction effort, as engineers and technicians carry out numerous firsts.

It’s no surprise that the welds on the EFT-1 Orion are called “pathfinder” welds, as this vehicle will provide a fabrication roadmap for future Orions that will be built at the former home of the Shuttle External Tank (ET).

Large pieces of the EFT-1 Orion are placed around the construction area at MAF, parts which are now showing the appearance of a spacecraft.

And while it was seen as a little overblown for NASA to compare Orion’s first welds with that of the birth of the orbiter fleet at Palmdale, California – mainly because of the scale of the beautiful winged vehicles in comparison to the small Orion capsules – the NASA fanfare surrounding that event last summer is understandable when viewing photos of the primed hardware preparing to be mated together into the EFT-1 Orion.

Indeed, this is the first new human spacecraft to be born since Endeavour was constructed – largely of made out of structural spares as she prepared to replace her fallen sister, Challenger – back in 1991.




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Old 03-14-2012, 07:57 PM   #15
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Parabolic Arc: Orion Prepared for Ambitious Test Flight
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