The NASA Orion spacecraft that will fly the Artemis 1 uncrewed lunar orbit mission is being prepared for a crucial test series at Plum Brook Station in Ohio. Prime contractor Lockheed Martin has completed functional checkouts of the Crew and Service Module following their connection in July and are beginning several weeks of closeouts ahead of flying the spacecraft to Plum Brook.
The spacecraft will be put in an environment at Plum Brook that simulates the in-space vacuum and thermal extremes it will see when it finally flies, so the thermal protection system (TPS) for Orion has to be nearly in flight configuration. It is near the peak of Hurricane Season in the Atlantic Basin and spacecraft checkouts in the Operations and Checkout (O&C) Building at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida were recently suspended for a week by Hurricane Dorian.
NASA and Lockheed Martin are projecting that Orion will be ready for its airplane ride to Plum Brook in the late October, early November time-frame.
Finishing functional testing in between tropical storm downtime
The spacecraft remains in the Final Assembly System Test (FAST) cell in the O&C Building at KSC. Following extensive standalone assembly and testing, the Crew ...