Orion Spacecraft Takes Shape
January 30, 2013 | WMFE- NASA's new Orion space capsule is taking shape at the Kennedy Space Center, as the agency moves towards a test flight in 2014. The Orion is designed for deep space exploration and it's a crucial part of the space center after the end of the shuttle program.
The capsule still looks like the green aluminum-alloy shell that was unveiled last July- but NASA staff and Lockheed Martin contractors inside the cavernous Operations and Checkout building at the space center are working to fit the Orion with life support, thermal protection and other systems to turn it into a functioning spacecraft.
Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana says KSC’s future is riding on the success of the Orion.
“We need it, alright," said Cabana.
"We want to explore beyond planet earth and this is our vehicle that is going to do that. And it isn’t commercial or government exploration, it’s not one or the other. We need both in order to be successful.”
Cabana says the Orion program is part of the plan to transform Kennedy into a multi user space complex supporting commercial and government missions.
The Orion is designed to fly on top of NASA’s new heavy lift rocket- the space launch system- but in its first unmanned test flight slated for September 2014 the capsule will blast into orbit on a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket.