While NASA pushes it Space Launch System (SLS) to make a mid-2020 debut, Orion also needs to find solutions to both match the realigned targets and achieve key objectives before the second flight with astronauts onboard.
Most notably, the Orion Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) is set to make its full debut on the first crewed mission, requiring the spacecraft to loiter in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) – before heading to the Moon – to allow for a speedy abort should issues be found in the system. Various test opportunities, including on the ISS, are being called upon to mitigate potential issues.
Exploration Mission -1 (EM-1) will be an uncrewed test flight paving the way for the crewed EM-2. However, EM-1’s Orion will not fly with a complete life support system.
See AlsoOrion Forum SectionL2 Orion SectionClick here to Join L2
This has been a concern for NASA’s Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP) for some time, resulting in calls to mitigate the potential the system could suffer a mission-ending fault during the following flight, EM-2.
“In its 2018 Annual Report, ASAP expressed concern about the readiness of the ECLSS for crewed flight – more specifically, whether it would ...