Friday, April 03, 2009

KSC Visitors get upclose with Orion Module

(NASA-KSC Images)

The Orion crew exploration module mock up has arrived at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida, and Apollo-styled module quickly became a popular attraction on Thursday at America's Spaceport.

Following a few days here at the visitor's area at Spaceport USA, it will be used at the KSC industrial complex and destined for the "open water" of the Atlantic Ocean as it begins water tests in support of the Orion landing operations.

"The Post-landing Orion Recovery Test, or PORT, is to determine what kind of motion astronauts can expect after landing, as well as outside conditions for recovery teams", stated Brian Dunbar with NASA public affairs on Thursday.

Orion - which is one piece of Project Constellation - will begin making routine trips to the international space station as it carries a crew of four and supplies beginning in 2015. NASA also plans to use Orion as the command module as America proudly returns to the Moon in 2020.

Once Orion begins its decent for landing back here on earth, it will carry a landing profile much like the Apollo command module did between 1968 thru 1975 -- an ocean landing.

This August, the Ares 1 will have a test launch from launch pad 39-B here at KSC with a dummy Orion module a top as NASA gets underway with the first real tests of the Constellation project.

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