Lockheed Martin Space Systems will conduct the Orion Exploration Flight Test-1
, or EFT-1, in 2014 under contract to NASA.
The test will launch NASA's Orion spacecraft, without a crew, to an altitude that has not been achieved by a craft intended for human flight since the Apollo lunar landing missions.
The EFT-1 flight will take Orion to an altitude of more than 3,600 miles, more than 15 times farther away from Earth than the International Space Station. Orion will return home at a speed almost 5,000 miles per hour faster than any current human spacecraft. It will test the kind of return that will be required when astronauts come home from voyages beyond low Earth orbit. As Orion reenters the atmosphere, it will endure temperatures almost 2,000 degrees F., higher than any human spacecraft since astronauts returned from the Moon.