Photo of the Orion spacecraft to fly on Exploration Flight Test-1 in 2014.
Credit: NASA/Tim Jacobs

Workers to add structural braces to Orion spacecraft

BY STEPHEN CLARK
SPACEFLIGHT NOW
Posted: January 23, 2013

Engineers plan to beef up the structure of the first space-bound Orion spacecraft after discovering cracks in testing last year, but officials say the extra work should not delay preparations for the capsule’s first orbital test flight in 2014.

Technicians will install a brace over the cracked area in parallel with normal work on the spacecraft, according to Mark Geyer, NASA’s Orion program manager.

NASA is developing the Orion spacecraft, also called the multipurpose crew vehicle, for future human voyages into deep space to destinations such as the moon, asteroids and Mars.

The first Orion spacecraft built for spaceflight is undergoing assembly and testing inside the Operations and Checkout Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It will launch in September 2014 on a United Launch Alliance Delta 4-Heavy rocket, reaching a top altitude of 3,600 miles on an unmanned test flight to test the capsule’s avionics, heat shield and other systems.

The Orion test flight, named Exploration Flight Test-1, will culminate with a parachute-assisted splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.

Read more: Spaceflight Now | Breaking News | Workers to add structural braces to Orion spacecraft.

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