Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle and the Future
Engineers continue to analyze the data from the test flight to improve Orion’s design for crewed deep space exploration. Critical to their investigations is how the heat shield fared during reentry and how Orion’s 11 parachutes performed to allow the spacecraft to splash down safely in the ocean. The flight also tested the performance of a 3D printed vent. The vent performed as designed so engineers will be looking at other hardware that could be made using the same manufacturing process.
The test flight resulted in millions of data, providing important information to improve the spacecraft’s design before its first mission atop NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS), the most powerful rocket ever built. SLS will be capable of propelling Orion and its crew to deep space destinations such as the Asteroid Redirect Mission, the first ever mission to identify, capture and direct a near-Earth asteroid to a stable orbit around the moon where astronauts will explore it in the 2020s. SLS and Orion will also take explorers to Mars to continue humankind’s journey beyond Earth.