Lockheed Martin powers-up next Orion spacecraft

Posted on 15 Sep 2017 and read 629 times
Lockheed Martin powers-up next Orion spacecraftEngineers at Lockheed Martin (www.lockheedmartin.co.uk) and NASA (www.nasa.gov) recently ‘breathed life’ into the next Orion crew module when they powered up the spacecraft for the first time at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.

Designed for manned spaceflight, this Orion will be the first to fly more than 40,000 miles beyond the Moon during its nearly three-week Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1) — a feat that has not been possible before.

Mike Hawes, vice-president and Orion programme manager at Lockheed Martin, said: “Orion was designed from the beginning to take humanity farther into space than we’ve ever gone; to do this, its systems have to be very robust and reliable.”

The initial power-on event was the first time that the vehicle management computers and power/data units were installed on the crew module, loaded with flight software and tested.

Evaluating these core systems, thought of as the ‘brain and heart’ of the Orion capsule, is the first step in testing all of the crew module sub-systems.

Although astronauts will not fly in the capsule on this flight, most of the sub-systems and avionics are the same design that astronauts will rely on during missions into the solar system with Orion.

Launching on NASA’s Space Launch System — the most powerful rocket in the world — the EM-1 flight is critical to confirming that the Orion spacecraft and all of its interdependent systems operate as designed ‘in the unforgiving environment of deep space’.

With the successful initial power-on behind them, engineers and technicians will now continue integrating the 55 components that make up the spacecraft’s ‘avionics suite’.

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