Lockheed Martin and NASA have moved another step closer to launching the Orion crew exploration vehicle following completion of production and assessment work on the spacecraft.
The Lockheed-built Orion capsule will be integrated with a Delta IV heavy-lift rocket on a pad at NASA’s Space Launch Complex 37 in Florida in November, the company said Thursday.
Engineers installed the Ogive panels for the spacecraft’s launch abort system during the final assembly phase and conducted a gas purge test to ensure the capsule would not accumulate moisture during transfer to the launch platform.
The NASA-Lockheed team plans to connect and position the Orion and Delta IV rocket in the coming weeks to prepare for the planned Dec. 4 Exploration Flight Test-1.
Orion’s unmanned flight is intended to provide engineers data on separation mechanism, heat shield performance, avionics, attitude control and guidance, parachute deployment and recovery activities.
NASA would use critical systems information from EFT-1 to validate spacecraft design before the agency transports astronauts for deep space missions.