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BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. (WFTV) - The Orion mission, and other manned flights, are close to lifting off into deep space.
The Orion crew module will take U.S. astronauts farther into space than ever before.
Orion passed a critical pressure test that mimicked the stresses of space flight in June.
Thursday, program managers told Channel 9 there's still work to do to reach another major milestone.
"We've got it here doing the next level of assembly, which is really
putting in all the propulsion tubing, all the things that support the
cooling system. Then we'll go on to put our avionics in and the rest of
the systems," said Scott Wilson, Orion production operations manager at
NASA's Kennedy Space Center.
If all goes according to plan, the first startup for Orion will be late this summer.
is very interested in flying sooner rather than later, and I think you
can tell by the accomplishments we have here, we're very far along,"
Laurence Price, deputy program manager for the Orion program at Lockheed
The project is far enough along that the
first test flight of the spacecraft is still on target for next year.
The first unmanned mission is scheduled for 2017.
Orion's first crew should be on board by 2021.
"The vehicle is [a] multipurpose crew vehicle designed to do all of
these different missions. Asteroid is just one of them. And we're trying
to get the science community excited about all the possibilities,"
WFTV also got an update on NASA's low-orbit missions and its commercial crew program.
NASA hopes its commercial partners will be ready for manned launches by 2021.