NASA recently completed the final round of testing for its Orion spacecraft– meant to fly the Artemis mission that is expected to “return the next American man and deliver the first American woman to the surface of the Moon by 2024″.
The testing was performed at NASA’s Plum Brook Station testing facility in Sandusky, Ohio. According to NASA, the spacecraft “aced” the tests that included thermal vacuum and electromagnetic interference performance checks.
Things aren’t going as usual at NASA because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The space agency’s Marshall facility announced that it’s limiting access to “mission-essential personnel” after one staff member tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday night. However, the space agency still managed to finish the testing at its Glenn research facility in Ohio, which is the site of testing facilities to simulate flight conditions, including wind tunnels and vacuum chambers.
Orion’s testing completion at Glenn means that the spacecraft is ready to move on to NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre in Florida. To reach there, the Lockheed-built Orion capsule will travel onboard the space agency’s Super Guppy aircraft– a specially-built cargo aircraft designed for the purposes of transporting larger-than-normal cargo.
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NASA’s Artemis mission is the next chapter in the US agency’s space exploration program. It aims to send first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024 and establish sustainable exploration by 2028. The mission will then act as the footstep for future missions like sending astronauts to Mars.
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