Tuesday, March 18, 2014

NASA Orion EFT-1: First Test Flight of Orion Space Capsule delayed until December

Artist's concept of a ULA Delta 4 Heavy rocket standing poised on the pad ready to launch NASA's Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1).

The first flight of Orion is now slated for December 2014.

Credit: NASA

he countdown to the maiden launch of Orion, a NASA space capsule designed to take astronauts out into the solar system, is now three months longer than previously planned.

The space agency on Friday (March 14) announced that it was retargeting the first flight of its Orion spacecraft from autumn to just before winter this year.

"The Orion team continues to work toward completing the spacecraft to be ready for a launch in [the] September [to] October [period]," NASA stated on its website.

"However, the initial timeframe for the launch of the Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1) has shifted ... to early December to support allowing more opportunities for launches this year."

The EFT-1 mission will fly the Orion capsule to an altitude of approximately 3,600 miles (5,800 kilometers) above the Earth's surface, more than 15 times farther out than where the International Space Station (ISS) orbits.

By flying out to those distances, NASA will be able to judge how Orion performs in, and returns from, deep-space journeys.

Flying atop a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta 4 Heavy rocket, EFT-1 precedes the first flight of the Orion capsule on its intended launch vehicle, NASA's new Space Launch System (SLS), targeted for 2017.

By 2021, NASA plans to send astronauts aboard the Orion spacecraft on a mission to the vicinity of the moon to rendezvous with a redirected asteroid, before ultimately launching a crew to Mars in the 2030s.

No comments:

Post a Comment