HOUSTON, 20 Dec. 2007.Lockheed Martin has opened its new space Exploration Development Laboratory, dedicated to supporting the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Project Orion and Constellation Program. Orion is America's next-generation human spaceflight vehicle that will transport up to six astronauts to and from the International Space Station and up to four to the moon and beyond. It will be put into service beginning in 2015, after the space shuttle is retired.
The new 10,000 square-foot Exploration Development Laboratory is a state-of- the-art test facility funded by Lockheed Martin and its teammates United Space Alliance and Honeywell. It is part of an integrated EDL network that includes facilities in Denver, Colo., Glendale, Ariz., and Arlington, Va.
The EDL network is designed to reduce cost and schedule risk by providing an early opportunity to perform systems-level avionics and software testing for Orion in a realistic environment in the development phase of the program.
"The Exploration Development Lab provides a benefit to NASA and the Lockheed Martin team as we begin a very robust test program for Orion," says Cleon Lacefield, vice president and program manager of Project Orion for Lockheed Martin Space Systems. "We are excited to have the EDL ready and operational for Orion and Constellation so early in the development phase of the program. Testing in this new facility has already begun and we completed the first Pad Abort 1 avionics systems test for Orion."
Initial testing of critical systems will be done in the EDL, including the Guidance, Navigation, and Control (GN&C), Automated Rendezvous and Docking (AR&D), crew interfaces, and software development processes.
The Lockheed Martin team also is working closely with NASA on a Human Engineering mockup that will be used to perform fact finding activities, such as reach zone, panel displays, internal lighting assessment, seat mockup and development, docking hatch development, crew stowage, hand controller development, and other human interface devices.