Inside the Operations and Checkout Building high bay at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, technicians help secure the Orion crew module onto a work stand after it was lifted out of a special test stand. Lockheed Martin Space Systems and NASA engineers performed a series of static load tests on Orion that simulated the massive loads the spacecraft would experience during its mission.
Orion is the exploration spacecraft designed to carry crews to space beyond low Earth orbit. It will provide emergency abort capability, sustain the crew during the space travel and provide safe re-entry from deep space return velocities. Orion’s first unpiloted test flight, Exploration Flight Test 1, is scheduled to launch in 2014 atop a Delta IV rocket. A second uncrewed flight test is scheduled for 2017 on NASA’s Space Launch System rocket. For more information, visit http://www.nasa.gov/orion. Photo credit: NASA/Daniel Casper