NASA PROPOSES ORION SPACECRAFT TEST FLIGHT IN 2014
Agency Moves to Implement Deep Space Exploration Plan
WASHINGTON -- NASA plans to add an unmanned flight test of the Orion
spacecraft in early 2014 to its contract with Lockheed Martin Space
Systems for the multi-purpose crew vehicle's design, development,
test and evaluation. This test supports the new Space Launch System
(SLS) that will take astronauts farther into space than ever before,
create U.S. jobs, and provide the cornerstone for America's future
human spaceflight efforts.
"President Obama and Congress have laid out an ambitious space
exploration plan, and NASA is moving out quickly to implement it,"
NASA Associate Administrator for Communications David Weaver said.
"This flight test will provide invaluable data to support the deep
space exploration missions this nation is embarking upon."
This Exploration Flight Test, or EFT-1, will fly two orbits to a
high-apogee, with a high-energy re-entry through Earth's atmosphere.
Orion will make a water landing and be recovered using operations
planned for future human exploration missions. The test mission will
be launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla., to acquire critical re-entry
flight performance data and demonstrate early integration
capabilities that benefit the Orion, SLS, and 21st Century Ground
Systems programs. The agency has posted a synopsis explaining its
intention on NASA's procurement website.
"The entry part of the test will produce data needed to develop a
spacecraft capable of surviving speeds greater than 20,000 mph and
safely return astronauts from beyond Earth orbit," Associate
Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations William
Gerstenmaier said. "This test is very important to the detailed
design process in terms of the data we expect to receive."
NASA also intends to release several competitive solicitations to
industry in the near future. One solicitation will request proposals
for the design, development, test and evaluation of a new advanced
liquid or solid booster capability for the SLS. Another future
contract NASA intends to compete will be for the development of
spacecraft, and payload adaptors and fairings for crew and cargo
missions. The competition and award dates for these will be
determined as missions are identified.
NASA is developing the Orion spacecraft to launch astronauts to
asteroids, the moon, Mars and other destinations atop SLS, the
agency's new heavy launch vehicle. An early orbital flight test such
as EFT-1 will provide data needed to influence design decisions and
serve as a pathfinder to validate innovative new approaches to space
systems development. The goal is to reduce the cost and schedule
risks of exploration missions