[meteorite-list] NASA's Orion Arrives At Kennedy, Work Underway For First Launch

From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Mon, 2 Jul 2012 09:20:16 -0700 (PDT)
Message-ID: <201207021620.q62GKGlr021771_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>

July 02, 2012

David Weaver/Trent Perrotto
Headquarters, Washington
david.s.weaver at nasa.gov/trent.j.perrotto at nasa.gov

Amber Philman
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
amber.n.philman at nasa.gov

Josh Byerly
Johnson Space Center, Houston
josh.byerly at nasa.gov

RELEASE: 12-225


CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- More than 450 guests at NASA's Kennedy Space
Center in Florida welcomed the arrival of the agency's first
space-bound Orion spacecraft Monday, marking a major milestone in the
construction of the vehicle that will carry astronauts farther into
space than ever before.

"Orion's arrival at Kennedy is an important step in meeting the
president's goal to send humans to an asteroid by 2025 and to Mars in
the 2030s," NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver said. "As NASA
acquires services for delivery of cargo and crew to the International
Space Station and other low-Earth destinations from private
companies, NASA can concentrate its efforts on building America's
next generation space exploration system to reach destinations for
discovery in deep space. Delivery of the first space-bound Orion,
coupled with recent successes in commercial spaceflight, is proof
this national strategy is working."

Orion will be the most advanced spacecraft ever designed. It will
provide emergency abort capability, sustain astronauts during space
travel and provide safe re-entry from deep space.

The space-bound Orion will launch on Exploration Flight Test-1, an
uncrewed mission planned for 2014. The spacecraft will travel 3,600
miles above the Earth's surface, 15 times farther than the
International Space Station's orbital position. This is farther than
any spacecraft designed to carry humans t has gone in more than 40
years. The primary flight objective is to understand Orion's heat
shield performance at speeds generated during a return from deep

In advance of the 2014 launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station,
Fla., a 400-person Orion production team at Kennedy will apply heat
shielding thermal protection systems, avionics and other subsystems
to the spacecraft. Work also is underway by the Ground Systems
Development and Operations team at Kennedy to modify and refurbish
facilities used throughout the history of American spaceflight in
preparation for the next generation of rockets and spacecraft. This
includes the Vehicle Assembly Building, Launch Control Center, launch
pad, mobile launcher and crawler-transporter.

"Work is under way on America's next great spacecraft that will
surpass the boundaries within which humanity has been held," said
William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for the Human
Exploration Operations Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in
Washington. "In a facility that once processed cargo for space
shuttles and various components for the International Space Station,
hundreds of people at Kennedy are coupling advanced hardware assembly
systems with a new human-rated spacecraft designed for deep space
travel.. It is a fitting testament to the American work force at
Kennedy that has enabled the exploration of space for 50 years is
again working on hardware that will extend human presence throughout
the solar system."

In 2017, Orion will be launched by NASA's Space Launch System (SLS), a
heavy-lift rocket that will provide an entirely new capability for
human exploration beyond low Earth orbit. Designed to be flexible for
launching spacecraft for crew and cargo missions, SLS will enable new
missions of exploration and expand human presence across the solar

Across the country, progress is being made on multiple components and
capabilities for Orion and SLS. Orion has successfully completed
numerous splashdown tests from a variety of angles and speeds,
examining how the spacecraft will come to a rest on the ocean at the
conclusion of deep space missions. NASA also has conducted a series
of parachute tests high above the Arizona desert, demonstrating how
Orion will behave under its giant parachute canopy. Software tests
have been run between Mission Control Houston and an Orion mockup at
Lockheed Martin's Exploration Development Laboratory, allowing flight
controllers to learn how the spacecraft's onboard computers operate.
Work also continues to build and fine-tune Orion's launch abort
system. Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor for Orion.

The J-2X upper-stage rocket engine, developed by Pratt & Whitney
Rocketdyne for the future two-stage SLS, is being tested at Stennis
Space Center in Mississippi. The prime contractor for the
five-segment solid rocket boosters, ATK, has begun processing its
first SLS hardware components in preparation for an initial
qualification test in 2013. The SLS core stage, which will be
designed and manufactured by Boeing, has just passed a major
technical review and is moving from concept to early design. Boeing
has already delivered test bed flight computers to the program and
flight software development is underway.

The Orion crew module was built at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in
New Orleans. NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston manages the Orion
Program. SLS is managed by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in
Huntsville, Ala. NASA's Ground Systems Development and Operations
Program is managed by Kennedy.

For more information about the Orion Program, visit:


For more information on the Space Launch System, visit:


For more information about the Ground Systems Development and
Operations Program at Kennedy, visit:

Received on Mon 02 Jul 2012 12:20:16 PM PDT

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