Everyone is already probably aware that NASA intends to send humans to Mars and asteroids in space at some time to come, and to make this happen according to schedule, the space agency is preparing the Orion space capsule in readiness for the mission, but it is being readied for a test mission to the moon first - ABC News reports.
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The Orion crew module pressure vessel is cone-shaped and assembled at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in Louisiana, from where it was shipped to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida earlier this month.
Lockheed Martin’s Orion program manager, Mike Hawes, revealed that this particular pressure vessel is nearly 500 pounds lighter than Orion which launched in December 2014 for its first test flight, and that it has fewer technical parts.
NASA and Lockheed Martin engineers and technicians will work together to prepare Orion pressure vessel for its test flight to the moon by first rigging it out with all required controls to make the flight successful, while also outfitting it with all electrical power storage and communications flight software among other digital equipment.
When Orion is finally certified to fulfill its commission, NASA will subject it to a number of tests in various facilities to analyze its functions and perfection. When everything is ultimately certified okay, then the spacecraft will blast off from Earth to orbit the moon in 2018 after which it will be deployed to transport humans to outer space – Mars and other asteroids, in 2023.
The Orion capsule will be able to transport only four astronauts or passengers for now, and just like the Apollo has four seats installed in it. NASA engineers said the computer of the spacecraft is capable of processing 480 million orders per second, and that it is also 25 times faster than those installed for the International Space Station.
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