Where Is Orion Spacecraft?

Orion is NASA’s new spacecraft designed to transport astronauts further than ever into space – to the Moon and beyond. Specifically engineered to offer safe, comfortable, and reliable deep space travel for astronauts.

Launch will take place from Kennedy Space Center in Florida aboard a powerful rocket named Space Launch System and carry both an inflatable capsule and European Service Module with air, water and propulsion facilities.

Where is Orion?

Orion was designed to transport astronauts deeper into space than any vehicle ever has in human history, from the Moon or Mars. Launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center using their new Space Launch System rocket, Orion provides room for four astronauts with all they require for up to 21-day missions in space.

Orion features a cylindrical European service module which supplies oxygen, water and electrical power as well as housing its main parachute system for safe reentry to earth’s atmosphere and eventual splashdown in water.

The crew module itself is a pressure vessel made of an aluminium-lithium alloy with a honeycomb structure filled with pockets to increase strength and decrease weight. It has a forward bay that houses astronaut seats and belongings as well as an enclosed toilet that’s about the size of those found on passenger planes.

Orion’s Range

Orion spacecraft boasts an incredible set of systems to accommodate up to four astronauts on missions to the Moon and beyond, designed specifically to offer comfort for humans of varying body types, from those short like us up to tall like them.

Lockheed Martin serves as prime contractor, with primary structure welding taking place at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. Parts from various suppliers across the nation are delivered, then assembled at Kennedy Space Center before receiving their internal components for use onboard.

Honeywell Inertial Measurement Unit sensors track spacecraft movements and positions with incredible accuracy throughout their mission phases from launch through splashdown. Featuring radiation hardened components for reliability, this system ensures smooth operation for optimal spacecraft movement.

Orion’s Re-entry

Orion will slam into Earth at high speeds upon its return after an extended mission, so to protect itself it has the largest ever built heat shield and Avcoat material which slowly burns away during reentry to help lower temperatures on its surface.

NASA recently shared a stunning video showing this fiery re-entry process – you can watch it below.

After Orion splashes down into the water, it will be taken aboard USS Portland and transported back to Naval Base San Diego where engineers will assess how reentry heat has affected its systems and heat shield. This data will help NASA plan future missions to Mars or elsewhere in space.

Orion’s Docking

Once docked safely and successfully, astronauts will take to lunar surface in a lander connected with their spacecraft via its docking system derived from technology used by SpaceX to link its Dragon spacecraft with the International Space Station.

Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle uses Vision Navigation Sensors and HD Docking camera to visualize targets and calculate their range, bearing, alignment and orientation before providing this data to its control system – which automatically finds, rendezvous with and docks with them.

Constellation program designers included this option for manual control of flight path if needed as part of its design. Should an issue with launch system after LAS and fairing jettison arises, all engines will be shut off via emergency command putting Orion either back onto its trajectory towards reentry or lower orbit depending on which abort scenario has been selected by astronauts.

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