Orion Spacecraft for test flight on 4 December: NASA

Mainly designed to carry astronauts to deep space destination like Mars, NASA’s Orion Spacecraft is scheduled for test flight on December 4th 2014.

This test won’t involve any live person. That is, launching from a Delta IV heavy rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Launch Complex 37 in Florida, Orion will not carry any people on its test flight.

This will help engineers understand what conditions will be like inside the cabin as Orion travels through high radiations and extreme temperatures during this flight, NASA said in a statement.

Orion will travel to an altitude of 5,793.6 kms – 15 times higher than the International Space Station – orbit Earth twice, then splash down in the Pacific Ocean four and a half hours later and be recovered.


The SCIFLI (Scientifically Calibrated In-Flight Imagery) team, based at NASA’s Langley Research center in Hampton, Virginia, is preparing to capture thermal snapshots of the super-hot re-entry of Orion into earth’s atmosphere following its first test flight.

This is going to be a tough one. Orion will come though the atmosphere at 20, 000 miles an hour as a tiny dot in the sky. With the capsule initially hundreds of miles away, it is like we are looking for it through a small soda straw,” said Tom Horvath, SCIFLIU principal investigator.

It is all about getting the aircraft positioned at the right location at a precise point in time. The action will be in the last minute. Temperature will go from very low to up to 2,204.4 degrees Celsius,” Horvath added.

The team will use a US Navy NP-3D aircraft, also called Orion, to capture the imagery.


Original article at NDTV.