The heat shield for the Orion spacecraft has been placed on a work stand inside the Operations and Checkout Building high bay at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The heat shield arrived at Kennedy’s Shuttle Landing Facility on Dec. 5 on NASA’s Super Guppy aircraft. The largest of its kind ever built, the heat shield is planned for installation on the Orion crew module in March 2014.
The Orion spacecraft is being prepared for its first unpiloted flight test, Exploration Flight Test-1, or EFT-1, scheduled for launch atop a Delta IV rocket in September 2014. The Orion spacecraft is designed to carry astronauts to destinations not yet explored by humans. It will have emergency abort capability, sustain the crew during space travel and provide safe re-entry from deep space return velocities. Orion is scheduled to launch atop NASA’s Space Launch System rocket in 2017. For more information, visit http://www.nasa.gov/orion. Photo credit: NASA/Mike Chambers