Construction of the living and working area for the first crewed Orion spacecraft is well underway at the Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF) in New Orleans. Building on lessons learned from previous construction, Orion prime contractor Lockheed Martin has already completed four of the seven welds necessary to assemble the crew module pressure vessel.
Current schedules call for the completed pressure vessel to be shipped in September to the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida, where it will be outfitted to fly on Exploration Mission-2 (EM-2).
“We’ve done the PV1 weld — that’s the tunnel to the forward bulkhead — [and] we just completed the three cone welds,” Blaine Brown, Orion Crew Module Engineering Manager for Lockheed Martin, said in an interview with NASASpaceflight.com. “[The] next one that we’ll do is the aft bulkhead to the barrel.”
At the time of the interview on February 7, Brown also noted that the aft bulkhead was the last piece to arrive at MAF: “The bulkhead is in the process of being transported to Michoud today, actually, and the barrel is already at Michoud.”
The crew module pressure vessel consists of seven major welded components: a tunnel, three cone panels, a barrel, and two ...