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Orion Spacecraft

— 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.

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— 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.

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— 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.

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— 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.

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— 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.

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— Space

NASA's Space Launch System to deploy 11 additional satellites on maiden launch

NASA is planning to maximize the scientific potential of the maiden launch of its next generation launch vehicle, the Space Launch System, by selecting 11 tiny satellites to ride shotgun. The little probes, known as CubeSats, will be transported in the SLS's upper stage adaptor, presenting a cost-effective delivery option for experiments designed to function beyond low-Earth orbit. Read More
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