NASA is getting ready to launch deep-space capsule Orion next month on its first space flight. A NASA administrator lately called this mission ‘our first step in our journey to Mars’.
Deputy Associate Administrator William Hill and other NASA and industry officials have expressed high hope from the mission. Orion is expected to launch on December 4. The mission will blast an unmanned Orion capsule from Kennedy Space Center, Fla., sending it over 3,500 miles into space and back for a splashdown off Baja California, Mexico.
The flight, which will include two Earth orbits and last less than five hours, will provide NASA and its Orion business partner Lockheed Martin their first space test of the capsule that imagined as a vital part of any NASA trips to the moon, an asteroid, Mars or beyond.
For the test on December 4, Orion will be staged on top of the most powerful rocket accessible in the world today, a three-booster Delta IV Heavy, given by United Space Alliance. As launched, the capsule will be completely configured to take four crew members, although it will be unoccupied.
NASA will be performing all the tests and research on the flight with the assumption that there are astronauts on board. The launch is scheduled for 7:05 a.m., with December 5 and 6 available as backup launch days.
The mission will test Orion’s capabilities ranging from the 17 separations that will take place as many parts of the rocket. The test flight will cost about $370 million including the rocket and it will not include the capsule, which NASA and Lockheed Martin plan to recover and use again.
“This mission is significant in that it enables human space flight to deep space and to destinations that we have yet to imagine .We intend to test ourselves on this mission, and we intend to test our spacecraft”, said NASA’s Orion Flight Director Mike Sarafin.