The Orion spacecraft sits inside the Launch Abort System Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida awaiting its rollout to the launch pad Monday night. The spacecraft will be moved to Space Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station for its flight test, flying aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta 4-Heavy rocket.
NASA flight director Mike Sarafin describes the timeline of Orion Exploration Flight Test 1, the crew capsule’s first space mission set for launch Dec. 4 on a United Launch Alliance Delta 4-Heavy rocket. The test flight will verify the craft’s heat shield, computers and avionics, and key separation events to be used on piloted missions to deep space.
Space station astronaut Reid Wiseman, preparing to return to Earth this weekend after 165 days in orbit, said commercial spaceflight represents the “next breakthrough” in aerospace technology, and that he hopes Virgin Galactic can ultimately turn that dream into reality despite the fatal crash of the company’s SpaceShipTwo rocket plane.