The Lockheed Martin [NYSE:LMT]-built Orion spacecraft gently splashed down into the waters of the Pacific Ocean at 11:29 a.m. EST, completing the first test flight of NASA’s deep space exploration capsule.
After a successful launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket at 7:05 a.m. EST this morning, Orion orbited the Earth twice, reaching speeds of 20,000 miles per hour and traveling through belts of intense radiation before enduring a fiery, 4,000 degree F re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere.
“There were a few moments when I held my breath, but today’s flight couldn’t have gone better,” said Mike Hawes, Lockheed Martin vice president and Orion program manager. “Orion is going to push the boundaries of scientific discovery, and for the men and women of Lockheed Martin who have worked tirelessly for the last six years to make this test possible, it’s an honor to be a part of this moment in history.”
Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1) successfully tested a number of technologies that are fundamental to future deep space missions:
“Throughout the flight we recorded data from the spacecraft, and later this month, when it arrives back to Kennedy Space Center, we’ll pull select components off the spacecraft to include in our overall analysis,” added Hawes. “The insights we’ll gain from today’s flight are invaluable for Orion’s future. Meanwhile the team will continue their work preparing for Exploration Mission-1, when Orion will be integrated and tested with the Space Launch System rocket for the first time.”
Source: Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE: LMT)
Date: Dec 8, 2014