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Are We There Yet? Podcast

Some Assembly Required

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The Orion pressure vessel sits in the Operations and Checkout Building at Kennedy Space Center. Photo: NASA

On the last episode of this podcast, we talked with Stu McClung, an engineer working on the Orion space capsule. If you remember, this is the capsule that’s going to take humans into deep space.

The interesting thing about the Orion capsule is that it’s being put together at Kennedy Space Center where it will eventually launch. That’s a new technique for NASA. In the past, capsules were shipped to KSC fully assembled.

Now, only the shell of the capsule is shipped to Kennedy. Once it arrives, some assembly is required, like outfitting the computers, consoles, outer shell and heat shield.

It’s all done at the revamped Operations and Checkout Facility. This long building was once used for final preparations of the Apollo missions, as well as final preparations for parts heading to the International Space Station.

Now, it’s redesigned to piece together Orion. Today, the Orion capsule that NASA plans to use on Exploration Mission 1 is being worked on. What they call the pressure vessel arrives from a factory in New Orleans. It’s basically just the inner shell of Orion with holes cut out for windows and hatches.

NASA Engineer Scott Wilson and his team handle the rest.

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Brendan Byrne

About Brendan Byrne

Space Reporter and 'Intersection' Producer

Brendan covers space news for WMFE, everything from rocket launches to the latest scientific discoveries in our universe. He hosts "Are We There Yet?", WMFE's space exploration podcast He also helps produce WMFE's twice-weekly public affairs show "Intersection," working with host Matthew Peddie to shape the ... Read Full Bio »