Orion is marching ever closer to its first trip to space on a flight that will set the stage for human exploration of new destinations in the solar system.
The Orion team continues to work toward completing the spacecraft to be ready for a launch in September-October. However, the initial timeframe for the launch of Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1) has shifted from September-October to early December to support allowing more opportunities for launches this year. Completing the spacecraft according to the original schedule will allow many engineers and technicians to continue transitioning to work on the Orion spacecraft that will fly atop the agency's Space Launch System. It will also ensure that NASA's partners are fully ready for the launch of EFT-1 at the earliest opportunity on the manifest.
To that end, the core and starboard boosters for the United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket that will launch Orion into space for the first time arrived at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station this month. That leaves just one booster still in production at the company's Decatur, Ala., facility. It's scheduled to arrive in April along with the rocket's upper stage, and will join the other boosters inside ULA's Horizontal Integration Facility for processing and testing.
Meanwhile, in the spacecraft factory at Kennedy Space Center - the Operations and Checkout Facility - Orion itself is making progress of its own.
Almost all of the spacecraft's avionics components have been installed, and system by system, the engineers are powering them up. It's a methodical, deliberate process, in which each connector is checked individually before they're hooked up and the system turned on to make sure each battery, heater, camera and processor - to name a few - works on its own, before the entire system is turned on together. Otherwise, one faulty cable could damage an entire, one-of-a-kind system.
Read the full update here: http://go.nasa.gov/1in7VRq