- Oct 30, 2009
- Reaction score
According to a recent government watchdog report, concern about that possibility held up production of the heat shield for NASA’s first space-bound Orion capsule, threatening to delay its uncrewed flight test next year.
NASA knew its chosen heat shield material could crack before atmospheric re-entry and has been studying whether any cracks could be serious enough to “threaten the safety of the crew and success of the mission,” the Government Accountability Office report said.
NASA says the mission known as Exploration Flight Test-1, or EFT-1, is on schedule for September 2014, and that cracking concerns have diminished since the GAO reviewed the issue last summer.
“Since then, through material testing, thermal coatings, computer analysis and operational control, we’ve significantly lowered the likelihood of surface cracking during EFT-1 and believe we will obtain the necessary test data,” said Rachel Kraft, a spokeswoman at NASA headquarters.
May 3, 2013
The last of eight reaction control system (RCS) pods for NASA’s Orion Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1) arrived this week at Kennedy Space Center’s Operations and Checkout Building (O&C) from the manufacturer, Aerojet, in Redmond, Wash.
“Arrival of the final reaction control system pod marks a significant milestone as we prepare NASA’s Orion crew module for its first flight test,” said Glenn Chinn, the deputy manager of the Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle Program in Kennedy’s Orion Production Operations Office.
“The pods will provide the critical maneuvers necessary for Orion’s re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere.”
The first set of pods arrived at Kennedy on Feb. 18, with subsequent pods arriving March 11, and April 5 and 19.
Oct. 28, 2013
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 2014.
That's the Orion Ground Test Article (GTA) in VAB High Bay 4 undergoing simulated stacking procedures. Photos can be found here: http://mediaarchive.ksc.nasa.gov/search.cfm?cat=241I found this image on the Florida Today live webcam page for LC-39. Is this Orion being encapsulated?
Yes, I remember seeing that when we visited the VAB in August. I think its just a boilerplate though, no actual flight hardware?That's the Orion Ground Test Article (GTA) in VAB High Bay 4 undergoing simulated stacking procedures. Photos can be found here: http://mediaarchive.ksc.nasa.gov/search.cfm?cat=241
The three massive panels protecting a test version of NASA's Orion multipurpose crew vehicle successfully fell away from the spacecraft Wednesday in a test of a system that will protect Orion during its first trip to space next year.
The panels, called fairings, encase Orion's service module and shield it from the heat, wind and acoustics it will experience during the spacecraft's climb into space. The service module, located directly below the crew capsule, will contain the in-space propulsion capability for orbital transfer, attitude control and high-altitude ascent aborts when Orion begins carrying humans in 2021. It also will generate and store power and provide thermal control, water and air for the astronauts. The service module will remain connected to the crew module until just before the capsule returns to Earth. During Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1), the spacecraft's flight test next year, a test service module will be attached to the capsule.
"Hardware separation events like this are absolutely critical to the mission and some of the more complicated things we do," said Mark Geyer, Orion program manager at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. "We want to know we've got the design exactly right and that it can be counted on in space before we ever launch."
Unlike conventional rocket fairings, these panels are designed to support half of the weight of Orion's crew module and launch abort system during launch and ascent, which improves performance, saves weight and maximizes the size and capability of the spacecraft. Each panel is 14 feet high and 13 feet wide.