Orion Readies For Move To Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility

An artist's concept image of the Orion capsule. Image Source: Lockheed Martin

An artist’s concept image of the Orion capsule. Image Source: Lockheed Martin

Washington, D.C. September 3, 2014 – Lockheed Martin and NASA engineers are readying the Orion spacecraft for a move at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The spacecraft will be transferred from the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building to the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility during the second week of September.

In the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility, the Orion spacecraft will be fueled with ammonia and hyper-propellants for its first test flight, Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1), on December 4, 2014.

During EFT-1, the uncrewed spacecraft will launch aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV Heavy rocket and will travel 3,600 miles beyond low Earth orbit. After two orbits, Orion will reenter Earth’s atmosphere at almost 20,000 miles per hour before its parachute system deploys to slow the spacecraft for a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.

The 4.5-hour mission will provide engineers with crucial data such as heat shield performance, separation events, avionics and software performance, attitude control and guidance, parachute deployment, and recovery operations.

EFT-1 is one of two flight tests to validate the design of the spacecraft before it begins carrying humans. The Orion spacecraft will eventually carry astronauts farther into the solar system than ever before. The Lockheed Martin-built capsule will provide emergency abort capabilities, sustain the crew during space travel, and provide safe re-entry from space.

The move to the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility will not be carried live on NASA Television, but highlights of the move will air on NASA TV’s Video File segments and the agency’s website. For NASA TV downlink information, schedules and links to streaming video, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

In the coming months, Orion will be moved again for the installation of its launch abort system.