Saturday, February 18, 2012

Orion Test Flight Aims for Late 2013

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana discuss the first Orion test flight. Click the arrow to watch the video. You may be subjected to an ad first.

Florida Today reports that NASA hopes to launch a test flight of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle by late 2013.

NASA late last year decided to add $375 million to the contract so that Lockheed Martin could carry out an early unmanned flight test.

The goal: to launch an Orion capsule into a 5,000-mile-high orbit and then simulate the type of high-speed atmospheric re-entry astronauts would fly on a return from the moon, Mars or other interplanetary destinations.

NASA schedules show the flight test launching in early 2014, and Bolden is not pressing Lockheed Martin to launch earlier. But the contractor is aiming for late 2013 — as early as October, company officials say.

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