Orion, NASA's new spacecraft built to send humans farther than ever before, is launching into space for the first time next month. Media are invited to participate in a roundtable Dec. 1 at 1 p.m. at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, to hear from a number of Langley experts involved in Orion research.
The uncrewed Orion capsule is scheduled to lift off no earlier than December 4 at 7:05 a.m. atop a Delta IV Heavy rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Launch Complex 37 in Florida. Orion will travel to an altitude of 3,600 miles - 15 times higher than the International Space Station - orbit the Earth twice, then splash down in the Pacific Ocean four and a half hours later and be recovered.
NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, has played a significant role in Orion's testing and development. Not only did researchers splash test a capsule mock-up more than a dozen times in 2011 and 2012, they have plans to do the same thing in 2016 with a more advanced, high-fidelity model that will be outfitted with the same heat shield that is on the Orion spacecraft.
Langley also led the development of Orion's launch abort system – a rocket-propelled emergency escape system for use in the event of an emergency on the launch pad or during initial ascent. Researchers have also tested Orion, launch abort system models and Space Launch System models in Langley wind tunnels.
Date: Nov 25, 2014