Preparation of a space mission "Orion" continues, and at the moment space Agency NASA conducts final preparations before Exploration Flight Test 1 (EFT-1) — a test launch into earth orbit, scheduled for 4 December. In space, Orion will lift heavy carrier rocket "Delta IV". When Orion is fully functional, then for US it will be the first private spacecraft to deliver humans beyond low earth orbit since man first landed on the moon. NASA experts claim that Orion will not only be the safest ever built spacecraft, but also the most high-tech.
September 29 carrier rocket "Delta IV" was delivered to "Space launch complex-37" on a U.S. air force base at Cape Canaveral. At the moment, "Delta IV" is the most powerful space rocket system, which is available to the Agency, and is powered by the main engine RS-68. Very soon the rocket will be mounted in a vertical position and prepared to launch Orion into orbit. Test flight will be for 25 minutes, after which it is planned to conduct inspections of re-entry of the apparatus into the atmosphere.
Despite the fact that part of the test launch will use a rocket built by the company United Launch Alliance, the main Lavra with the actual launch of the "Orion" will get the Space Launch System (SLS) is a heavy launch vehicle for manned missions beyond earth orbit, the development of which is currently underway under the guidance of NASA. In theory, the missile will be capable of lifting on Board 70 tons of payload, and its engine can generate a thrust of 3.8 million pounds.
The crew module Orion during the build process
The spacecraft has successfully passed a comprehensive check of the life support systems. All the necessary checks "Orion" was carried out with the connected service module, which in future will house the supplies and equipment necessary for the survival of its crew in space. The last component installed on the machine "Orion" turned out to be very important from all points of view, the system LAS (Launch Abort system) is a system abort start-up. Its installation was completed on 6 October.
Installation of system LAS
From the point of view of the health and safety of a future crew of Orion LAS is one of the most important systems of the vehicle. If necessary, the system allows you to instantly detach the crew module and thus save his life. The system works as follows: in the event of serious danger LAS automatically runs a set on her engines and in a literal sense catapulting the crew module from the launch vehicle. And all of this is happening within some fractions of seconds. However, the malfunction of such a system can turn a potential disaster right on the launch pad.
Even if we assume that the start was in normal mode and Orion has reached Earth's orbit without any incidents, the LAS system is still able to put an end to the success of the mission as a whole. The fact is that LAS designed with that in mind, that in an ideal run, it should automatically separated from the spacecraft. If for some reason this does not happen, the LAS system will block the opening of parachutes "Orion" necessary for the return landing on the Ground. The end, as you might guess, would be fatal. Therefore, in the framework planned for this December test flight, NASA intends to carefully verify that all components of the LAS.
With the installation of system LAS the construction of the spacecraft "Orion" is fully completed. The machine will remain in the Assembly lab until mid-November of this year, after which it will be transferred to the launch pad and installed on the carrier rocket "Delta IV".
In the video below you can watch a video about how to pass a test launch of Orion.