The Orion spacecraft has moved another step closer toward its first test flight as the core and starboard boosters for the United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket contracted by Lockheed Martin for that flight have arrived to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
The rocket will undergo testing and processing at ULA’s Horizontal Integration Facility to prepare for Orion’s Exploration Flight Test-1 later this year.
Technicians offloaded the boosters from a specially designed ship called the Delta Mariner, which had traveled 8 days to Florida from the ULA facility in Decatur, Ala. where the rocket is manufactured. Once in the Horizontal Integration Facility, processing and testing will be completed in preparation for rolling the Delta IV Heavy out to Space Launch Complex 37 for launch.
During Orion’s test flight, the uncrewed spacecraft will launch on the Delta IV Heavy and will travel 3,600 miles beyond low Earth orbit. That same day, Orion will return to Earth at a speed of approximately 20,000 mph for a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean. EFT-1 will provide engineers with critical data about Orion’s heat shield, flight systems, and capabilities to validate designs of the spacecraft before it begins carrying humans to new destinations in deep space.
Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 115,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation’s net sales for 2013 were $45.4 billion.
With more than a century of combined heritage, United Launch Alliance is the nation’s most experienced and reliable launch service provider. ULA has successfully delivered more than 75 satellites to orbit that provide critical capabilities for troops in the field, aid meteorologists in tracking severe weather, enable personal device-based GPS navigation and unlock the mysteries of our solar system. Reliable launch, real-world benefits.