Friday, August 1, 2014
NASA's Orion spacecraft is not ready for liftoff, but the spacecraft thinks it's already flown six missions. Since Orion's crew module was stacked on top of its service module in June, the vehicle has been put through a series of tests designed to verify all the individual systems work on their own in the new configuration and that they'll work together as a functional unit during flight. And the best way to do that is to trick the vehicle into thinking that it's flying, so that it will perform exactly the same functions it will be called upon to perform in December, when Orion launches into space for the first time. (Source: Space Travel, 08/01/14) Gulf Coast note: The Orion capsule was built at Michoud Assembly Facility, New Orleans; Stennis Space Center, Miss., will test the RS-25 engines that will be power the first stage of the Space Launch System, which will eventually be used to launch Orion.