Saturday, December 6, 2014

Launch of NASA's Orion deep-space capsule

Orion - the next-generation spacecraft by NASA that promises to take 'tourists' deeper into space to Mars by the 2030s, finally had it's first test flight - and it was a success. 

... Orion needs to be able to reach very high speeds and withstand extreme temperatures and radiation levels.
Orion's first test flight saw no astronauts on board but loaded with nearly 1,200 sensors to measure every aspect of the mission. That will allow NASA to assess whether the journey would have been suitable for astronauts.

The mission tested how Orion fares in the extreme conditions of space travel. NASA has designed the capsule to take up to six astronauts into deep space, and its 16ft-wide heat shield and sophisticated service module are among the features whose durability will be inspected upon return. The capsule not only survived launch and orbit, but temperatures of about 2,200C (4,000F) as it returned through Earth’s atmosphere. NASA also tested an emergency abort function developed to save astronauts in the event of a malfunction during launch. - theguardian

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