With all the structural test articles (STA) of the Orion spacecraft at prime contractor Lockheed Martin’s Space Systems facility in the Denver area, work is underway to qualify the elements for the Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1) and Exploration Mission-2 (EM-2) missions to the Moon. Testing of different combinations of spacecraft hardware in support of EM-1 and EM-2 will continue into 2019.
This phase of testing will help characterize the dynamic response of the structures and verify that the design meets the required factor of safety.
The Crew Module STA is currently set up in a loads testing fixture in the Structural Test Lab at Lockheed Martin Space Systems Waterton facility in Littleton, Colorado. It was shipped from the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida on NASA’s Super Guppy cargo aircraft in late April to Buckley Air Force Base near Denver.
The Service Module STA made the same Super Guppy flight a couple of months later after the Crew Module Adapter (CMA) and European Service Module (ESM) STAs were mated at Kennedy.
“We’ve done tests on two of them so far,” Dan Qvale, Orion STA Assembly Test and Launch Operations Lead with Lockheed Martin, said during an interview with NASASpaceflight.com.