Orion's vehicle management computer and power and data distribution system performed as expected during the tests, which occurred at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida last week, the agency said.
“The main computers received commands from the ground, knew where to send them, read the data from different channels, and successfully relayed electrical responses back to the [test launch and control center],” Orion prime contractor Lockheed Martin said.
The spacecraft’s power systems will undergo more testing in the coming months as more electronics are added, Lockheed Martin said.
During Orion’s first flight, a four-hour mission known as Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1) that is scheduled for the fall of 2014, the spacecraft will lift off aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket and fly about 3,600 miles above Earth. Orion, which will not have a crew aboard, will re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere at speeds of more than 20,000 miles per hour before splashing into the Pacific Ocean.
Orion also includes a service module and a launch abort system. Those pieces will be integrated with the crew module next year to prepare for EFT-1.
NASA is developing the Space Launch System (SLS) to allow Orion to carry astronauts to an asteroid, Mars or other deep-space destination. Orion’s first flight aboard SLS is planned for 2017.
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