ExplorationFlight Test 1
EFT - 1 . Date : December 2014
Exploration Flight Test 1 or EFT-1 (previously known as Orion Flight Test 1 or OFT-1) is the first planned uncrewed test flight of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle. Set to launch on December 4, 2014 atop a Delta IV Heavy from Space Launch Complex 37B at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, the mission will be a multi-hour, two-orbit test of the Orion Crew Modulefeaturing a high apogee on the second orbit and a high-energy reentry at around 20,000 miles per hour (32,000 km/h; 8,900 m/s). This mission design is essentially equivalent to that of the Apollo 4 mission of 1967, which validated the Apollo flight control system and heat shield at re-entry conditions planned for the return from lunar missions.
LAUNCH DATE :
2014 December 4
EFT-1 Orion is being built by Lockheed Martin. On June 22, 2012, the final welds of the EFT-1 Orion were completed at theMichoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, Louisiana. It was then transported to Kennedy Space Center's Operations and Checkout Building, which is where the remainder of the spacecraft will be completed.
The huge heat shield that will protect the first Orion’s return from space has been installed on to the spacecraft. Exploration Flight Test -1 (EFT-) – set to launch at the end of this year – will provide an array of data on how the vehicle and heat shield perform during the speedy entry, which in turn will feed into the Critical Design Review (CDR) scheduled for next year.
The mission – involving two orbits to a high-apogee destination, allowing for a high-energy re-entry through Earth’s atmosphere on what is a multi-hour test – will provide critical re-entry flight performance data and demonstrate early integration capabilities of the spacecraft.
Although this EFT-1 mission will occur several years before a crew flies in the spacecraft, the test will provide valuable early data, that can be fed into Orion’s development, thus avoiding any “late” changes to the vehicle that could cause schedule impacts.
Orion conducts final full system parachute test ahead of EFT-1
As the launch date for Exploration Flight Test -1 (EFT-1) closes in, the Orion team conducted the final major parachute testing ahead of gaining data from an actual return from space. The latest parachute drop test was the “sportiest” of the series so far – pushing the system through several failure modes to see if Orion could still land safely. The test has been deemed a success.
Orion Parachute Tests
Dropping a boilerplate Orion spacecraft out of the back of a plane at the U.S. Army’s Yuma Proving Ground in the Arizona desert has been going on since the days of the Constellation Program (CxP).
The tests use a Parachute Test Vehicle (PTV) system that consists of numerous additional parachutes, required to drag the test vehicle out of the C-17 aircraft via a sledge or pallet system at 25,000 feet, providing the correct orientation, altitude and speed, whilst also allowing for the pallet to land safely on the ground under its own dedicated parachutes.
US Navy Eightballers to monitor EFT-1 Orion’s return
The United States Navy are deep into preparations for supporting the key test milestones for NASA’s Exploration Flight Test -1 (EFT-1) mission. The Navy are involved both on sea and in the air for the recovery testing set to take place off the coast of California early this year, while arranging for the use of naval assets during the latter part of debut for NASA’s newest spacecraft in the summer.
US Navy and EFT-1
As NASA’s transition heads towards the half way point between the end of the Space Shuttle Program and the start of the Agency’s return to Beyond Earth Orbit (BEO) exploration, famed relationships of earlier years are starting to align towards the new path.
The United States Navy’s long and trusted relationship with NASA once again employs historical synergy, via a modernized role that points back to the legacy of early space missions.
As previously confirmed, the US Navy have already been recruited to provide a post-mission role for the first three Orion missions, a role they last conducted during the pioneering missions of Mercury, Gemini and Apollo.
While the opening mission will launch Orion atop of a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV-Heavy, the spacecraft’s return will closely mimic its return to Earth from deep space, with Exploration Flight Test -1 (EFT-1) completing its high energy re-entry with a splashdown off the coast of California.