Lockheed’s Orion Spacecraft Concludes Assembly, Testing for NASA’s Artemis Mission to Lunar Orbit


Lockheed Martin has sent the Orion capsule to NASA's exploration ground systems team for final preparations ahead of the unmanned Artemis I mission to lunar orbit that will launch later this year.

Lockheed said Thursday that Orion concluded assembly operations and testing at Kennedy Space Center in Florida and will now undergo integration with the launch abort system, payload fairing and propellant elements.

The launchpad rollout will commence after Orion's final integration activities and installation onto the Space Launch System.

Mike Hawes, vice president and Orion program manager at Lockheed, said the upcoming Artemis I mission will serve as an assessment of Orion's capacity to safely transport humans to and from the moon.

Artemis I requires Orion to autonomously orbit the moon over a three-week period while the second Artemis mission will serve as a crewed flight.

In 2019, NASA awarded Lockheed a $4.6B contract to provide up to six additional Orion spacecraft for subsequent Artemis missions.

As the prime contractor for Orion, Lockheed constructed the spacecraft's crew module, launch abort system and module adaptor. The European Space Agency provided the capsule's European Service Module.

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