NASA completed structural tests of a test version of the promising Orion spacecraft, which should become one of the main instruments for conquering the satellite of our planet.
The United States Space Agency announced the completion of one of the stages of testing the Orion spacecraft on its website. Tests were conducted at the Lockheed Martin facility, located near Denver. As part of them involved a demo version of the device. According to NASA, the experts had to make sure that the device was able to withstand the loads experienced during launch and ascent into orbit, as well as to prove their reliability in space.
This test phase began back in 2017: it included 20 tests using six different configurations – from one element to a whole complex with various combinations of systems and subsystems. Upon completion of the tests, the Orion structural strength was confirmed at all stages of the upcoming Artemis 1 mission.
It will be the initial stage of the large-scale Artemis program, designed to return astronauts to the moon. Subsequently, NASA hopes to build a permanent satellite base. In addition, the program plans to create the lunar orbital station Gateway, which is sometimes called the successor to the ISS.
The launch of the superheavy rocket Space Launch System as part of the Artemis 1 mission is planned to be carried out in 2021. The device in an unmanned configuration is expected to fly around the Earth’s satellite and return. A few years later should be held Artemis-2 – the first manned mission in the framework of the program, which involves flying around the moon. It is hoped that the landing of the person on the satellite will be carried out during the next stage, scheduled for the 20th year. This mission is considered as the first in history, during which a female astronaut landed on the moon. They intend to complete the construction of the permanent base after 2028.
Today, there are no guarantees that the deadlines will be met at least approximately: there is neither a working version of the spacecraft nor the aforementioned Launcher Space Launch System. Moreover, unlike Orion, which performed one test launch in 2014, the rocket does not have a single flight test behind its back.
Now NASA is making every effort to make the rocket ready for the intended date. Recall, recently, the space department tested the fuel tank of a promising carrier as part of testing its technical characteristics.