Orion Lifted into Place Atop Rocket

NASA’s new Orion spacecraft now is at its launch pad after completing its penultimate journey in the early hours Wednesday. It arrived at Space Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 3:07 a.m. EST, where the spacecraft then was hoisted up about 200 feet and placed atop the United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket that will carry it into orbit. Over the course of the three weeks that remain until the Dec. 4 liftoff, the spacecraft will be fully connected to the rocket and powered on for final testing and preparations.

5 thoughts on “Orion Lifted into Place Atop Rocket”

  1. Hello – I cannot express enough my deep admiration and respect for everyone’s hard work that enables someone like me to be able to enjoy and experience from a distance all the wonderful information that you share publicly. I also get to enjoy watching the space station flying over my house from my address here in Windsor, ON Canada. I wondered with this new method of carrying crews to space whether you have to teach the team to fly differently as it is not the same as flying a shuttle craft? It sort of looks like we have regressed a little in terms of how we are flying? Genuinely curious. Thanks again for your great work.


    1. Yes, it IS different than flying the shuttle. Since this spacecraft reenters the atmosphere just like the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo spacecraft did (heat shield first) and are conical in shape, they have almost no lift, because they have no wings. A ring of small thrusters maintain spacecraft orientation and reentry angle (about 5.6 degrees, if I remember from the Apollo days). If this angle is too steep (close to 0 degrees) the spacecraft’s heat shield will get too hot, and fail – causing the destruction of the spacecraft. If it is too shallow ( > 10 degrees or so, I think) the capsule will skip off the upper layers of atmosphere and be lost in space. The onboard computers will maintain the optimum angle to keep the spacecraft on target for a splashdown in the desired region. It will do this by monitoring a set of gyros and firing the thrusters to nudge the spacecraft back on track. It, when manned, also has the capability of being flown via a joystick and instruments in the cabin. Hope this answers your question.

  2. This is a very exiting time for us as humanity, to be here in witnessing the 1st. pioneers in traveling into the far reaches of space begining with interplanetary space. Laying the foundations in stepping stones, to create the pathway into the dawn of a new era, for space travel, in the name of Human Space Exploration. I’ve been tracking this mission project since, these are pivotal moments that make their mark, in the pages of human history. Needless to say, since a young age, I too have held a candle, a light, in God speed, to the brave men & women involved, in all previous, current and future missions.-tks.

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