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Orion Short Stack

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Wed Sep 17, 2014 5:10 pm via: NASA
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NASA completes the 74,000-pound Orion “short stack” at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, preparing the crew module for its first mission into space. The short stack, or the stacking of the Orion crew module, service module and spacecraft adapter, brings NASA a step closer to a new era of human space exploration.

In just a few months, Orion will travel 3,600 miles into space during its first mission, Exploration Flight Test-1. The two-orbit, four-hour unmanned flight test will help engineers evaluate the systems critical to crew safety, including the heat shield, parachute system and launch abort system.

Photo credit: NASA/Daniel Casper

Photo credit: NASA/Daniel Casper

The Orion crew module is designed to carry up to six astronauts to and from space. The service module, which was attached to the crew module last June, will house Orion’s power, thermal and propulsion systems. The spacecraft adapter, the latest attachment to the stack, will connect Orion to the United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket for this first flight, and to NASA’s Space Launch System on future missions.

Kennedy, NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia, and NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama, along with Orion prime contractor Lockheed Martin, played a critical role in designing and developing flight hardware for Orion.

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