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  [Discuss] NASA's Orion Exploration Flight Test

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Author Topic:   [Discuss] NASA's Orion Exploration Flight Test
Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-08-2011 12:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Editor's note: In an effort to keep the topic NASA's Orion Exploration Flight Test (EFT-1) focused on status updates, readers' feedback and opinions are directed to this thread.

Please use this topic to discuss NASA's 2014 test flight of the Orion multi-purpose crew vehicle (MPCV).

DChudwin
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posted 11-08-2011 07:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DChudwin   Click Here to Email DChudwin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The NASA release does not contain one very important fact-- what launch vehicle will be used for the Orion flight test?

alanh_7
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posted 11-08-2011 08:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for alanh_7   Click Here to Email alanh_7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think I read a Delta IV Heavy was to be used for this launch.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-08-2011 09:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The procurement solicitation notes:
To accomplish the EFT-1 objectives, NASA plans to expand the scope of the existing Orion contract.

The EFT-1 flight test utilizes an early production variant of the Orion spacecraft which is comprised of four elements: the Orion launch abort system, crew module, service module, and spacecraft adapter and fairings. The Orion contractor is currently developing these four elements under the existing contract.

The additional scope required is to integrate the spacecraft with the launch system, along with other unique integration efforts between this integrated stack and the ground and operations systems. The contractor also will be responsible for providing the launch service, including a launch vehicle capable of lifting the spacecraft into a highly lofted orbit to achieve the high energy reentry requirement.

The primary deliverable for this effort will be the flight test data and engineering evaluation of the test results against the formal flight test objectives established by NASA.

NASA/JSC intends to procure this additional scope for the integrated flight test on a sole-source basis from LMSSC, Denver Colorado, via a modification of the Orion contract.

Earlier, Lockheed Martin (LMSSC) confirmed that they had reserved a Delta IV Heavy to preserve the option of flying a test flight.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-09-2011 11:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A NASA animation of EFT-1 added today to the update thread begins with Orion separating from a Delta rocket.

J Blackburn
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posted 11-13-2011 09:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for J Blackburn   Click Here to Email J Blackburn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It is great to know that NASA is moving forward and making great progress. I hope it continues! Our country needs this.

Many would say that it is a waste of money and that there are more important things. Gene Kranz said it best in the Discovery Channel series, When We Left Earth, "To stop in space is to surrender."

You could not be more correct Mr. Kranz. I hope we never surrender.

cspg
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posted 03-15-2012 03:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
So both the Delta IV and Atlas V will be able to carry Orion? On top of SLS? That's three rockets to launch the same capsule...

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-15-2012 03:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There are no plans (or perhaps even capability) for Orion to fly on Atlas V. And at least for now, the use of the Delta IV Heavy has only been approved for unmanned test flights.

Atlas V is being proposed for commercial crew use, by Boeing (CST-100), Sierra Nevada (DreamChaser) and Blue Origin.

Blackarrow
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posted 05-14-2012 01:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Apologies if I have missed reports of this, but what about the development of a service module to support the Orion capsule? All drawings of an Orion mission show a service module with round solar-panels, but who is developing it and when will it be flight-ready (before or after the Orion CM?)

Robert Pearlman
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posted 05-14-2012 09:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Since this is the EFT-1 specific thread, it should be noted that the mock service module for the 2014 test flight is currently being fabricated at the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans and at Kennedy Space Center in the Operations & Checkout (O&C) building.

Further, Marshall Space Flight Center has been testing parts of the service module for EFT-1.

For general discussion of the Orion MPCV and its service module, please use this thread.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-22-2012 08:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Space News reports that the EFT-1 Orion crew capsule will have to be repaired before its planned 2014 debut after its aft bulkhead cracked during recent pressure testing at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The cracks were discovered during a proof pressure test the week of Nov. 5. Proof testing, in which a pressure vessel is subject to stresses greater than those it is expected to encounter during routine use, is one of the many preflight tests NASA is performing on Orion to certify the craft is safe for astronauts, agency spokeswoman Rachel Kraft said.

"The cracks are in three adjacent, radial ribs of this integrally machined, aluminum bulkhead," Kraft wrote in an email. "This hardware will be repaired and will not need to be remanufactured."

It took Orion prime contractor Lockheed Martin Space Systems of Denver about a year to make the vehicle that was damaged. Kraft did not say how long it would take to repair the capsule, built as part of a program intended to take astronauts to destinations beyond low Earth orbit.

Cracking occurred when the pressure inside the Orion module reached about 149 kilopascals, or 21.6 pounds per square inch, Kraft said. To pass the proof test, the Orion pressure module has to withstand about 164 kilopascals, which is roughly 1.5 times the maximum stress the capsule is expected to encounter during missions, she said. Increasing the pressure inside the craft in an ambient environment of 1 atmosphere -- air pressure at sea level -- effectively simulates the conditions Orion would encounter in a vacuum.

328KF
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posted 01-25-2013 08:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Spaceflight Now is reporting on the repair plan for hull cracks in EFT-1 Orion spacecraft. Reading this, I couldn't help but think how appropriate it might be to launch another US ship with a "Liberty Bell" style crack painted on the side!

Kind of like thumbing your nose at the number 13...

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-15-2014 06:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Although assembly and testing of the Orion spacecraft remain on schedule, NASA on Friday (March 14) confirmed it was slipping the timeframe for the EFT-1 launch to December.
"Completing the [Orion] according to the original schedule will allow many engineers and technicians to continue...to work on the Orion spacecraft that will fly atop the agency's Space Launch System," NASA said. "It will also ensure that NASA's partners are fully ready for the launch of EFT-1 at the earliest opportunity on the manifest."

Though not stated by NASA, reports suggest that the slip to December was made to allow two recently declassified space surveillance satellites to launch before EFT-1. The Air Force's Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program (GSAP) satellites will track satellites orbiting high above the Earth.

dabolton
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posted 04-08-2014 10:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for dabolton   Click Here to Email dabolton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's fascinating to see how complex the plumbing and wiring really is as they are moving forward. Impressive engineering efforts.

apolloprojeckt
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posted 06-10-2014 04:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for apolloprojeckt   Click Here to Email apolloprojeckt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That last photo, that shiny shield is that a protection cover over the the real heatshield?

p51
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posted 06-10-2014 04:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Does anyone know of the timeframe for getting the capsule ready? I'm going to be at Kennedy Space Center at the start of October and am curious where they'd be on their timetable about that time...

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-10-2014 04:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by apolloprojeckt:
That last photo, that shiny shield is that a protection cover over the the real heatshield?
According to a NASA release, the Avcoat heat shield is "covered with a silver reflective tape that protects the material from the extreme cold temperatures of space."

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-10-2014 05:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by p51:
Does anyone know of the timeframe for getting the capsule ready?
Despite the slip of the launch to December, NASA is still on schedule to have the vehicle ready to fly by late-September.

Should the Air Force get its GSAP satellites off on time, then ULA may be able to complete the necessary pad modifications for EFT-1 such that the launch could move up a few weeks earlier.

As such, by the time you are there in October, the capsule will be either be sitting complete and waiting to fly, or possibly be in the early preparations for flight.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-10-2014 05:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Though dates were not provided*, Lockheed Martin has identified the following milestones that will lead up to the launch of EFT-1:
  • The backshell tiles and forward bay cover will be installed onto the crew module (end of June)
  • The crew module and service module will mate to the Delta IV Heavy second stage adapter (July)
  • The spacecraft will be fueled and serviced at the Kennedy Space Center Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility (August)
  • The launch abort system will be stacked on top of the spacecraft (August)
  • The spacecraft will be prepped and transported to Launch Pad 37 where Lockheed Martin and United Launch Alliance will perform pad integration and launch operations (September)
*Update: I just received from Lockheed the estimated months for each milestone above, which I have now added.

Lunar Module 5
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posted 08-04-2014 04:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lunar Module 5   Click Here to Email Lunar Module 5     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Are they still on schedule for a December 4th launch? Are there any more pictures of the stacking?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-04-2014 05:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, Dec. 4 remains the official targeted launch date, though there still remains the chance that it will move up into November.

The vehicle itself will be ready for an earlier launch but alterations to Complex 37 need to be completed by United Launch Alliance first.

Stacking (beyond mating the Orion to its mock service module) has not yet occurred. The launch abort tower was recently rotated vertical in preparation for its later stacking atop the Orion.

tetrox
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posted 08-27-2014 08:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for tetrox   Click Here to Email tetrox     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Could anyone point me in the direction of any high quality graphics of how the EFT-1 will appear on the pad prior to launch? Many thanks.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-03-2014 01:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Lunar Module 5:
Are they still on schedule for a December 4th launch?
According to Spaceflight Now, the EFT-1 launch window for Dec. 4 opens at 7:05 a.m. EST (1205 GMT) and extends 2 hours, 30 minutes.

dragon001
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posted 09-04-2014 11:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dragon001     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Is anyone else planning on attending EFT-1 from Kennedy? My Congressman was able to confirm that NASA is able to work Congressional invites — as they did with shuttle.

dabolton
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posted 09-08-2014 10:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for dabolton   Click Here to Email dabolton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The crew and service module will be transferred together on Thursday (Sept. 11) to another facility for fueling, before moving again for the installation of the launch abort system.
Is it normal to pre-fuel before stacking? Are the fuels they are using not going to degrade the tanks/lines by sitting for two months?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-08-2014 11:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, it is common. It is partly why the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at Kennedy exists.

For example, NASA's Mars-bound MAVEN spacecraft was fueled in the PHSF on Oct. 25, 2013, prior to it being rolled out to the pad for stacking and its launch almost a month later.

Similarly, Dragon and Cygnus are both fueled prior to stacking onto their respective rockets.

quote:
Originally posted by dabolton:
Are the fuels they are using not going to degrade the tanks/lines by sitting for two months?
Orion is intended to fly missions lasting much longer than two months.

Fra Mauro
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posted 09-29-2014 08:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Orion in Final Integration Steps Before Exploration Flight Test-1
I'm getting goosebumps!

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-01-2014 10:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV Heavy that will launch Orion on EFT-1 arrived at Complex 37 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station last night (Sept. 30) and was raised into the Mobile Service Tower this morning. (Photo credit: ULA)

p51
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posted 10-01-2014 01:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'll be at KSC next week, can't wait to see it from a distance!

yeknom-ecaps
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posted 10-01-2014 09:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yeknom-ecaps   Click Here to Email yeknom-ecaps     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Is there any online press kits (NASA, Lockheed Martin, etc.) for this flight? Thanks.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-01-2014 09:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
No press kit (yet) but here is an Exploration Flight Test-1 Fact Sheet.

All times are CT (US)

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