Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Orion adapter aces test

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- A test article of the stage adapter that will connect the Orion spacecraft to a United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket for Exploration Flight Test-1 aced structural loads testing last month. "The loads put on the adapter are similar to the conditions it will experience in flight," said Brent Gaddes, Spacecraft and Payload Integration Adapter Subsystem manager at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., where the test was conducted. The adapter will be shipped in mid-March to ULA's facility in Decatur, Ala., where the Delta IV is being built. It will then travel by ship to Cape Canaveral, Fla., ahead of Orion's inaugural flight in September. During the mission, Orion will travel some 3,600 miles above Earth's surface before re-entering the atmosphere at almost 20,000 mph. The uncrewed flight will provide engineers with important data about Orion's heat shield and other elements before it is flown in 2017 as part of the first mission to include the Space Launch System. (Source: SpaceTravel, 02/11/14) Gulf Coast note: Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Michoud Assembly Facility, New Orleans, both are participating in the SLS program.