Orion Spacecraft launching to space for first time in December 2014!
Side view of two of three Delta IV heavy boosters, powered by RS-68 engines, comprising the mammoth Delta IV Heavy Rocket that will propel NASA's new Orion spacecraft to high Earth orbit in December 2014. They are being readied at the Horizontal Integration Facility (HIF), Launch Complex 37 of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
The triple barreled Delta IV Heavy rocket built by United Launch Alliance (ULA) is currently the most powerful rocket in America’s fleet and the only one capable of launching the Orion Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1) capsule to its intended orbit of 3600 miles altitude above Earth.
During the flight test, Orion will travel 3,600 miles into space—farther than a spacecraft built for humans has been in more than 40 years—and orbit the Earth twice! The capsule will re-enter Earth’s atmosphere at speeds approaching 20,000 mph, generating temperatures as high as 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit, before splashing down in the Pacific Ocean. This reentry velocity is equivalent to about 85% of what human spacecraft returning from Mars would be expected to experience—an important engineering milestone and deep space mission prerequisite.
The uncrewed flight will provide engineers with important data about Orion's heat shield and other elements, including the spacecraft adapter’s performance. The spacecraft adapter will connect Orion to the Delta IV and it will also connect Orion to NASA’s new rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS), on its first mission in 2017. The adapter was completed earlier this month at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. SLS, NASA's new rocket, will be capable of taking humans to deep space missions, including Mars.
#NASA #Space #Rockets #RS68 #Engines #Orion #Spacecraft #EFT1 #Earth #Orbit #Reentry #DeltaIV #ULA #Launch #Vehicle #SLS #CapeCanaveral #Florida #Mars
- U.S. NavyLeadding Petty Officer, 1995 - present
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