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Orion Spacecraft

Space

Orion's solar panels readied for Moon mission

When NASA's Orion capsule made its maiden flight in 2014, it was easy to forget that only half of the spacecraft actually went into orbit. A dummy version of the European Service Module (ESM), which is still undergoing development, sat behind the the unmanned capsule as it lifted off from Cape Canaveral. That development has just passed a major milestone according to the main contractor, Airbus Defence and Space, with a model of the ESM's solar array performing "flawlessly" in a deployment test this week.Read More

Space

NASA simulates emergency aboard Orion spacecraft

The testing of the Orion spacecraft continues in preparation for its first uncrewed mission atop the Space Launch System (SLS) slated for 2018. Following vibration testing, ocean recovery testing and its maiden test flight, NASA engineers are busy at work developing and testing the internal display and control components of the spacecraft that will one day carry crews into lunar orbit and, eventually, to Mars.Read More

Space

Orion arrives at Kennedy Space Center

The second Orion Crew module has arrived at the Kennedy Space Center's Operations & Checkout Facility after a flight by Superguppy from the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. According to primary contractor Lockheed Martin, the 2,700 lb (1,225 kg) spacecraft has been secured in its structural assembly tool called the "birdcage," where it will undergo testing and assembly for its first flight atop the Space Launch System on the unmanned Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1) scheduled for November 2018.Read More

Space

NASA details CubeSats to launch aboard SLS

As its 2018 maiden flight edges closer, NASA has provided further details on what exactly the Space Launch System (SLS) will be carrying deep into space. The agency has today revealed 13 CubeSats in total will be loaded onto the most powerful rocket it has ever built, some of which will be deployed to inspect asteroids, while others will gather data on the Moon.Read More

Space

NASA adds shiny thermal coat to Orion

When NASA's Orion deep space capsule makes its next unmanned flight, it will be a bit shinier thanks to a new thermal coating. The new coating and an improved heat shield will protect the spacecraft against the extremes of heat and cold that it will encounter on its journey, as well as from the heat of reentry when it returns to Earth.Read More

Space

NASA's Orion spacecraft passes key review

NASA's Orion spacecraft has overcome its latest hurdle on the road to becoming human-rated, with the completion of a technical and programmatic review (TPR). Once finished, Orion will be the first spacecraft designed to allow astronauts to operate beyond Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) since the Apollo program. Eventually, NASA envisions using the capsule as a key component in the planned asteroid redirect mission, and the ongoing endeavor to one day put a man on Mars.Read More

Space

NASA tests Orion parachutes to breaking point

NASA has been pushing the safety features on its next-generation Orion spacecraft to the extreme, as it carried out a dramatic parachute test. During the test, engineers staged the failure of various components of the descent system in order to see if it would still function, and save the lives of a potential crew in a worst case scenario.Read More

Lockheed tests Orion fairing design changes

Lockheed Martin announced that it's completed tests of design changes for NASA's Orion spacecraft’s fairing separation system. Based on information from Orion's unmanned maiden flight on December 5 last year, the alterations are meant to improve performance while reducing weight.Read More

Space

Orion capsule swaps glass windows for plastic

When the first Orion astronauts stare back at Earth, they'll be looking through windows made mostly of plastic. Because Orion is designed to carry out manned deep-space missions and even a possible Mars voyage, NASA decided it was time to replace the conventional glass windows with panes of acrylic that are lighter, less expensive, and more structurally sound than previous designs, and is more suited to long-duration missions.Read More

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