Artist Concept of SLS on Launchpad
NASA – The Space Launch System, or SLS, will be designed to carry the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, as well as important cargo, equipment and science experiments to Earth’s orbit and destinations beyond. Additionally, the SLS will serve as a back up for commercial and international partner transportation services to the International Space Station.
First Space Bound Orion Comes Alive
Construction on the first space-bound Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Module began with the first weld at the Michoud Assembly Facility on Sept. 9. 2011. This capsule will be used during Orion’s first test flight in space.
After welding is completed at Michoud, the Orion spacecraft orbital test article will be shipped to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, where the heat shield will be installed. At Kennedy, it will undergo final assembly and checkout operations for eventual flight.
Technicians position microphones around the Orion MPCV, or Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, and LAS, or Launch Abort System, test craft in preparation for the second round of testing in the acoustic chamber at Lockheed Martin’s facilities near Denver in late August 2011. The vehicle was bombarded by acoustic levels of 150 decibels to simulate conditions during launch and abort, if necessary Image Credit: Lockheed Martin
Preparing for Testing
Standing five stories tall fully stacked, the Launch Abort System was mounted atop the Orion MPCV, or Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, last week at the Lockheed Martin’s facilities near Denver. Orion is being prepared for the next round of testing in an acoustic chamber. Each test will expose the Orion MPCV and its launch abort system to acoustic levels exceeding 150 decibels while instruments record the vehicle’s response.
The test vehicles will provide critical data used to model the spacecraft’s capabilities to perform deep space exploration missions. The vehicles will undergo testing at sound pressure levels that emulate those experienced at launch and in the event an abort is needed to carry the crew to safety away from a potential problem on the launch pad or during ascent. Image Credit: Lockheed Martin