Lockheed to Test Fly Orion Launch Rocket

Lockheed Martin BlueLockheed Martin will process and test a United Launch Alliance-built rocket ahead of a future unmanned spacecraft launch following delivery of the rocket boosters to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The Delta IV Heavy rocket will be demonstrated at ULA’s Horizontal Integration Facility before Orion’s first test flight at Space Launch Complex 37 in late 2014, Lockheed said Thursday.

Delta IV Heavy is built to carry Orion 3,600 miles beyond low Earth orbit during the test flight and the spacecraft will be sent back to Earth on that same day.

Engineers will work to examine Orion’s heat shield, flight systems and capacity for design validation using data from the test flight.

The core and starboard boosters were transported aboard the Delta Mariner from ULA’s Decatur, Ala.-based facility.

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