Delta 4 Heavy moved to launchpad for Orion flight

Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar to the right or below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.

In preparation for a December test flight of the first Orion capsule, the Delta 4 Heavy rocket has been positioned on the launchpad.

The unmanned Dec. 4 mission, known as Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1), is designed to test out Orion’s critical crew-safety systems, such as its thermal-protection gear. During the four-hour flight, the Orion capsule will fly 3,600 miles (5,800 kilometers) from Earth, then come speeding back into the planet’s atmosphere at about 20,000 mph (32,190 km/h) before splashing down softly in the Pacific Ocean, NASA officials said.

Forgive me if I remain decidedly unexcited. I still believe SLS to be an enormous waste of resources that would be better spent onother things.

Posted on the road south of Phoenix.



  • Pzatchok

    I need a bit of help.

    I can not find any explanation of just how the Orion capsule is to be used as a deep space vehicle.

    Is it just a jumped up version of the Apollo style system?
    Were as the re-entry vehicle(Orion) is just the temporary living/re-entry module and not intended as a long term living module.
    Does it just separate from the rest of the rocket and turn around to re-dock with the real deep space module?
    And if that is how its intended to work how is it any different than the SpaceX crew craft, or even the Dream Chaser? They can both be flown exactly the same way.

  • geoffc

    The capsule (Orion) is demarcated by the reentry heat sheild onthe bottom, just like Apollo and Dragon. The Service Module (maybe made by ESA based on ATV) is discarded and has no habitable space.

    Orion is bigger than Apollo, and a lot bigger than Dragon internally. Nonetheless, one room, and not a lot of room for a multi-month mission. Even if it had life support for it.

    Usual proposed missions suggest it would dock to something else to provide extra hab space, depending on the mission. Maybe two Orions docked to a hab module for redundancy.

  • Competential

    Two months until launch. I didn’t realize that these rockets sat out there waiting for so long.

  • Pzatchok

    So like I thought, it really isn’t anything more than what we have working already. At a far cheaper price. Far Far cheaper.

    So since it has to have the very same docking system as everything else we can use all the other vehicles to do its job. At far cheaper price and faster.

  • David M. Cook

    Rockets only wait for the government! Mr. Musk launches his as soon as they’re ready.
    Only 20,000 MPH? Apollo capsules were tested to over 25,000 MPH and they only went to the Moon. Sounds like Orion can’t hack the higher speeds needed for deep-space missions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *