NASA Continues Orion Capsule Tests Amid Uncertainty

NASA's Orion spacecraft

Constellation Program Proceeds with Orion Capsule EVA Testing

With the fate of the Constellation Program at this juncture of time all but a certainty, Program officials are, nonetheless, pressing ahead with testing of the Orion crew capsule design. Specifically, current testing on Orion’s design is geared toward EVA egress/ingress procedures and mechanics for the four person capsule that was supposed to serve as a replacement, later this decade, for the retiring Shuttle fleet.

Orion Capsule EVA Egress/Ingress Testing:

Throughout the month of September 2010 – the final month of funding for the Constellation Program under President Obama’s vision for the future of space operations in the United States – NASA has undertaken a series of EVA egress/ingress tests on a full-scale mockup of the Orion crew module in the large Neutral Buoyancy Lab (NBL) at the Johnson Space Center.

According to the Joint EVA NBL Orion Mockup (JENOM) test overview document – available for download on L2 – “The primary purpose of [Test 8 of the EVA Systems Project Office (ESPO)] is to understand the Orion design implementation for the side hatch and internal layout.”

To accommodate this test objective, the Orion mockup’s exterior was constructed with OML, removable handrails, handrail mockups, functional side hatch, and an estimated HR from LIDS.

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