Washington, D.C. – The processing of Orion and its United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket remains on course for a launch Thursday, December 4th, on the first flight test of the spacecraft design.
Working at Space Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, technicians and engineers head into Thanksgiving conducting a series of electrical and battery checks between the connections between the crew module, service module and Delta IV Heavy second stage.The processing schedule also leaves room for more testing on Orion and its system if needed without impacting the launch schedule.
Orion will continue the Space Age tradition of taking mementos with it that will become treasured inspirations after the spacecraft returns from evaluating its systems high above Earth.
Find out what makes mementos ranging from patches and pins to Sesame Street items inspirational cargo for this flight at http://go.nasa.gov/1uWWnf4
The doors of the Mobile Servicing Tower were opened recently at Space Launch Complex 37 to reveal the Orion spacecraft atop the United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy that will carry the spacecraft into orbit. Orion’s crew module is underneath the Launch Abort System and nose fairing, both of which will jettison about six minutes, 20 seconds after launch.
The tower will be rolled away from the rocket and spacecraft 8 hours, 15 minutes before launch to allow the rocket to be fueled and for other launch operations to proceed December 4th.
Engineers and technicians prepping Orion for its first flight test December 4th began putting the finishing touches inside the crew cabin today and will continue the work through the weekend.
Although Orion will not carry any people on its flight test, it’s designed for astronauts, and engineers want to find out what conditions will be like inside the cabin as Orion travels through high radiation and extreme temperatures during this flight test.
Launch pad teams also will start on a lengthy list of closeout duties to make sure Orion and its vital instruments and recorders are ready for space. The steps will set the stage for the first launch week in Orion’s career.
The spacecraft and its United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket are on track to lift off Thursday at 7:05am EST, the opening of a 2 hour, 39-minute window for the day.