Orion Flight Test – The Basics

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Artist concept of Delta IV with Orion at the launch pad.

Artist concept of Delta IV with Orion at the launch pad.

Mission: Orion Flight Test
Launch Date: Dec. 4, 2014
Launch Time: 7:05 a.m. EST
Launch Window: 2 hours, 39 minutes
Launch Site: Space Launch Complex 37,
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
Splashdown (if launched at start of window): 11:29 a.m. EST

Mission highlights: Orion will lift off aboard a Delta IV Heavy rocket to perform the first flight test in space of the spacecraft that is being designed to carry astronauts on exploration missions into deep space. Orion will fly this mission without astronauts and will orbit the Earth twice reaching about 3,600 miles above the planet, 15 times higher than the International Space Station.

The spacecraft will re-enter Earth’s atmosphere at close to 20,000 mph and the heat shield will be tested against plasma that is 4,000 degrees F. Orion is to splashdown in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja California where it will be recovered by NASA and U.S. Navy teams.

34 thoughts on “Orion Flight Test – The Basics

  1. Ron Jarvis

    Is there an EFT-1 mission patch that I could download?
    I’ve checked the hundreds of images available on the NASA multimedia but I can’t find it.

    Reply
      1. Mark

        I wish there were more official souvenirs from this – an actual patch instead of the image of a patch, a model to build, etc. My son (age 8) is really excited (he has a ticket for the flight), and I’d love to give him more to connect with it. Is there anything out there?

        Reply
        1. NASA Post author

          A number of retailers sell Orion merchandise for this mission and for the program as a whole. A Web search should give you lots of items to consider.

          Reply
  2. Ron Joyner

    Can’t wait to see launch! Don’t understand the long gap between test flight and subsequent flights. As a kid in 1968, I was awestruck by Apollo 8 as it circled the moon on Christmas Eve and it completely influenced and drove me to earn a science degree. Our kids today badly need another such inspiration.
    USA needs Orion now!!! Orion needs to become operational asap, not years into the future.

    Reply
    1. Tony R.

      I totally agree with Ron. We need Orion to be operational ASAP and a goal to be on Mars within the next 7 years. The USA needs to be a leader again, and NASA and our nation needs a new challenge. We need this program to propel us to be the leaders in science and technology again like Apollo and the Space Shuttle did. Yes, the cost is high, but the benefits to our nation vastly outweigh the costs.

      Reply
      1. David

        I believe this is bigger than a simple nation striving to be a leader in technology, but rather let this be the goal of the entire human species. Let the inspiration be worldwide. I think that we, as a species, should be striving to become an interplanetary species. As this would be the first step for us to become a type 1 civilisation. Let all the space agencies combine and strive to achieve this goal. I understand that there is a great deal that we have still to understand about interplanetary travel and that we are on our way (Mars One) to becoming an interplanetary species but for me, after working nuclear fusion energy has been achieved, this should be our primary focus as a species.

        Reply
  3. Tim Lynch

    Nice technology, but very expensive launch system & crew capsule. A better and less expensive system could selected via SpaceX. I have been in Federal service almost 30 years working in budget, finance, contracts, & grants. All the taxpayers would like to know where the justification for this SOLE SOURCE contract NASA has with ULA?? Please do not provide the public with the excuse of a tight timeline. If it is delayed by 1-3 or more years, like most space programs are and SpaceX (or another worthy commercial firm) wins a competitive bid process – it will benefit all Americans. There is hope for tomorrow, as long we pull our heads out of the sand and stop thinking like yesterday.

    Reply
  4. Russell Crow

    Seeing an Orion Delta IV Heavy launch is going to be very cool. When I saw Columbia launch live at the Cape, it was an epiphany. Good luck and Godspeed.

    Reply
  5. ATANU SARKAR

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    I am Atanu Sarkar from India.I got your boarding pass for Orion Flight Test that will be held on 4th December.But I did not get any other document.When I apply for visa ,they are asking for document.Please help me in visa process as I am very keen to go for the test.

    Thanks & Regards ,

    Atanu Sarkar

    Reply
  6. Pingback: NASA’s Orion Spacecraft is on the launchpad prepping for Dec 4th test flight!! #JourneytoMars | CauseScience

  7. Denis Nothern

    It’s great to see the USA back in space with an effective launch vehicle. Between NASA and SPACEX, we have choices and the program has legs

    Reply
  8. Travis Burrell

    Can someone tell me when the first astronauts will be deployed after these tests?

    Is this the same test to practice for MarsOne?

    Who was selected if so?

    Reply
  9. John Coach

    The service module is ducted under cylindrical panels are ejected on arrival in orbit. Mechanical loads are distributed equally between the panels and the structure of the European service module which required careful design. For this first flight, the European service module is not yet present. It will be on the first flight with the SLS heavy launcher, still without crew. The second flight of the Orion and SLS will send a crew into orbit around the moon for 3 days. These first two flights of the SLS is provided in December 2017 and 2021. Good luck and thank you for the dream

    Reply
  10. george

    gOOO orion GOOOO !!!!! we have a actural space race between space x and nasa here todayy !! Nasa should be the winner by far!!!

    Reply
  11. Robert S

    I was in the car on the way to school at liftoff. The data would make a real time great Physics worksheet on Forces, velocity, acceleration, and circular motion.

    During lift off mass of craft, speed at time intervals, etc were given. Where can this information be found?

    Reply

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