NASA’s Orion spacecraft completed its move to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex 37 at 3:07 a.m., Nov. 12. During its rollout the spacecraft stopped in front of the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center, where Orion will be stacked atop the agency’s Space Launch System on future missions. It also passed by the launch pad that will launch future Orion missions to deep space. Launch Complex 39B has been refurbished and modified to host Orion and the Space Launch System for a flight test of the spacecraft and heavy-lift rocket in 2018 before carrying astronauts to deep space on later flights.
Later this morning, Orion will be stacked atop a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket ahead of the spacecraft’s flight test on Dec. 4. The Delta rocket will send Orion on a two orbit, 4.5 hour flight designed to test many of the spacecraft systems critical to safety before Orion begins carrying astronauts to deep space destinations in the future. Orion will fly a distance of 60,000 miles and reach a height of 3,600 miles above Earth before it re-enters the atmosphere at almost 20,000 mph and splashes down in the Pacific Ocean.