Lockheed Martin ejected the fairing panels on NASA’s Orion spacecraft during a separation test ahead of the vehicle’s scheduled launch in September 2014.
The company used explosive charges and related mechanisms for Orion to jettison its three fairings that are meant to protect radiators and solar arrays from harsh conditions during launch, Lockheed said Thursday.
Orion is designed to carry human crews to various space destinations and the fairings work to hold half the weights of the crew module and the launch abort system during ascent.
Lance Lininger, engineering lead for Lockheed’s Orion mechanism systems, said the program team conducted the test to obtain data for certifying the fairing design before Exploration Flight Test-1 next year.
Lockheed conducted the second in a series of tests at its Sunnyvale, Calif.-based facility and the company’s engineers worked to heat one of the fairings to 200 degrees by using strip heaters in order to simulate the orbital climb temperature.