May 27, 2015 – Inside the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building high bay at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, technicians have removed a side thermal window from one of Orion’s tile panels. The tile panels with thermal windows intact were removed from Orion in the Launch Abort System Facility after the spacecraft returned to Kennedy in late December. All of the windows are being removed and disassembled for post-flight inspection for any signs of micrometeoroid or orbital debris impacts or other potential glass damage.
Orion launched aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket on Exploration Flight Test-1 on December 5, 2014. After a two-orbit, 4.5 hour mission, Orion splashed down in the Pacific Ocean and was retrieved by NASA, Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Navy.
The spacecraft was secured in the well deck of the USS Anchorage and brought to Naval Base San Diego, where it was offloaded, secured in a container and transported back to Kennedy for analysis.
Orion’s next mission, Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1), will launch an uncrewed Orion spacecraft to a stable orbit beyond the moon and bring it back to Earth to demonstrate the integrated system performance of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft.
Colorado-based Lockheed Martin Space Systems leads the Orion industry team as the prime contractor building the Orion spacecraft. Orion will enable deep space missions to an asteroid and on toward Mars.