The Orion team continues to make excellent progress on the spacecraft as production operations ramp up. The Orion team successfully completed a series of rigorous acoustic and modal tests on the ground test vehicle at Lockheed Martin’s Waterton Facility near Denver to validate the spacecraft’s ability to withstand the harsh environments of launch, re-entry and space flight. The crew module will subsequently be put through a series of water landing tests at NASA Langley Research Center’s new Hydro Impact Basin, which will be used to validate and certify all human-rated spacecraft for NASA.
Fabrication of the Orion spacecraft slated for the first Exploration Flight Test continues at the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. After completion of weld operation, the Orion spacecraft will be sent to Kennedy Space Center’s Operations & Checkout Facility this summer for continued processing through final assembly and testing.
Orion’s Testing and Verification program continues to validate hardware and software integration, test subsystems and refine production operations to ensure the Orion team builds the safest, most reliable spacecraft possible to successfully execute a series of increasingly challenging human exploration missions on the path to Mars.
See the latest developments in NASA’s new video entitled “Orion: From Factory to Flight”
Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor to NASA for the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, the nation’s first interplanetary spacecraft designed to carry astronauts beyond low Earth orbit on long-duration, deep-space missions to destinations such as asteroids, Lagrangian Points or the moon. When paired with additional propulsion and life support systems, Orion will eventually be able to take humans to Mars.
Lockheed Martin leads the Orion industry team which includes major subcontractors as well as a nationwide network of minor subcontractors and small businesses. In addition, Lockheed Martin contracts with hundreds of small and disadvantaged business suppliers across the United States through an expansive supply chain network. There are approximately 3,000 people who work on the Orion program nationwide, including contractors, civil servants, subcontractors, suppliers and small businesses.
Lockheed Martin’s major subcontractors United Space Alliance, Aerojet, ATK, Honeywell and Hamilton Sundstrand, bring to bear the nation's premier human space flight and exploration expertise in the development of NASA's next generation crew transportation system. Our collective expertise spanning five decades in large-scale systems integration, planetary exploration, human space flight systems and operations, launch vehicles, military aircraft, and autonomous flight systems provides a critical foundation for NASA's new era of space exploration.
This state-of-the-art spacecraft provides a solution that is highly extensible for those future missions. This 21st century spacecraft design:
- Focuses first and foremost on crew safety and spacecraft survivability
- Provides safe ascent abort with no black zones
- Enables safe abort opportunities during all mission phases
- Provides the crossrange needed for nominal recovery on land
Benefits from a premier industry team that over the past fifty years has partnered with NASA to design, develop and successfully return the only deep space capsule missions since the Apollo era.