NASA's Orion spacecraft powers through first phase of testing
Engineers in the Operations and Checkout Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, perform avionics testing on the Orion spacecraft being prepared for its first trip to space later this year. [Image Credit: Lockheed Martin]
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) -
NASA's Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle has proven its mettle in a test designed to determine the spacecraft's readiness for its first flight test later this year, which will send the unmanned spacecraft more than 3,600 miles from Earth and return it safely.
The spacecraft ran for 26 uninterrupted hours during the final phase of a major test series completed April 8 at the agency's Kennedy Space Center. The test verified the crew module can route power and send commands that enable the spacecraft to manage its computer system, software and data loads, propulsion valves, temperature sensors and other instrumentation.
This was the first time engineers ran the crew module through its paces to verify all system actuators respond correctly to commands and all sensors report back as planned. More than 20 miles of wire are required to connect the different systems being powered.
Engineers now are preparing the crew module for vibration testing, scheduled for the week of April 14. In May, the heat shield will be installed and, shortly thereafter, the crew module will be attached with the service module.
Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor building the Orion capsule, NASA's first spacecraft designed for long-duration, human-rated deep space exploration. Orion will transport humans to interplanetary destinations beyond low Earth orbit, such as asteroids, the moon and eventually Mars, and return them safely back to Earth.