Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Go for Orion

The new Orion spacecraft has just completed its preliminary design review, or PDR. This follows over 300 technical reviews, 100 peer reviews and 18 subsystem design reviews. The PDR is an important step in the development of the new spacecraft, verifying engineering reliability and safety, and is needed before manufacturing begins. Though an important step, waiting on this has not stopped NASA from the testing of subsystems, including the Launch Escape System. The Pad Abort 1 test boilerplate is in New Mexico waiting for it's upcoming test at the White Sands Missile Range. It will be launched by the power of the LES rockets in the same manner as was done with Apollo capsules in the 60's. I'll be watching to see what happens to this Orion test article. It may be tough to keep track of all the test articles, boilerplates and models to come in the next few years, but that is my goal to keep the Field Guide the most complete guide to American spacecraft on the internet!

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