DENVER, Colo., 3 July 2012. NASA has received the first Orion spacecraft crew module structure built by Lockheed Martin. Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] delivered the crew module structure to the Operations and Checkout Building on NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida. The crew module structure recently underwent its final friction stir weld at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, La. and was transported to KSC last week to be readied for its Exploration Flight Test (EFT-1) in 2014.
The Exploration Flight Test which will take the spacecraft, which is designed for crew, significantly farther from Earth than any mission since Apollo.
This Orion capsule will be the first to be sent into space. Over the next year and a half, the crew module will undergo final assembly, integration and testing at KSC in preparation for the Exploration Flight Test. Additional subsystems will be installed, including propulsion, thermal protection, environmental control, avionics, power, mechanisms, and landing and recovery systems.
The EFT-1 flight will be NASA’s first orbital flight test beyond low Earth orbit since the 1960s. The test will evaluate capabilities needed for safe deep-space exploration and reduce risk for Orion’s first human-rated flight scheduled for 2017. An uncrewed Orion capsule will be launched aboard a Delta IV Heavy to an altitude of more than 3,600 miles and demonstrate vehicle performance for ascent, on-orbit flight, and a high energy re-entry profile with speeds of up to 20,000 mph. The EFT-1 test will enable the team to collect early critical flight performance data and assess the integration benefits for the Orion, Space Launch System and Ground Operations programs.
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NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston manages the Orion Program. Lockheed Martin is the leader of the Orion industry team which includes major subcontractors as well as a nationwide network of minor subcontractors and small businesses.
Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor to NASA for the Orion crew exploration vehicle, an interplanetary spacecraft designed for human exploration of our solar system. Orion is designed to carry astronauts beyond low Earth orbit on long-duration, deep-space missions to destinations such as asteroids, lagrange points or the moon.