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Orion’s first mission is Exploration Flight Test-1 and is scheduled to launch at 7:05 a.m. and return at 11:29 a.m. EST. The unmanned test flight will test Orion systems critical to crew safety, such as heat shield performance, separation events, avionics and software performance, attitude control and guidance, parachute deployment and recovery operations. Get details here on how to host your own launch party! Review the long-term plans for the Orion missions in the clip below.
Orion will travel 3,600 miles above the Earth’s surface; farther than a human spaceflight vehicle has traveled in 40 years, and 15 times farther than the International Space Station.
In this first mission, Orion will lift off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, travel a total distance of 60,000 statute miles in two orbits around the Earth, and splash down in the Pacific Ocean. At the conclusion of the mission, Orion will re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere at 20,000 mph with its heat shield deflecting more than 4,000 degrees of heat – twice as hot as molten lava. Orion has 11 parachutes that will slow the spacecraft down to a safe speed – 20 mph – for splashdown. When fully deployed, the canopies of the three main parachutes would cover an entire football field.
Last updated: 8/9/2018
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