Mounted securely on a lowboy tractor-trailer, the Orion capsule used in the pad abort launch test in 2010 heads out across the bed of Rogers Dry Lake at sunset June 14 on the first leg of its overland journey from NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center in Southern California to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (NASA / Carla Thomas)
The Orion prototype version of NASA's Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle that was used in the Launch Abort System PA-1 test last year departed NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center in California Tuesday evening, June 14, on an overland cross-country trip to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
NASA Dryden technicians carefully level and balance the transport fixture carrying the Orion prototype capsule of the Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle as it is lowered onto the trailer that will carry it cross-country to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida (NASA / Carla Thomas) Mounted on a lowboy tractor-trailer, the capsule will be on display at two museums in Arizona and Texas and an education center in Florida before its arrival at Kennedy in late June.
Stops are planned June 15-16 at the Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson, Ariz.; June 19-20 at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin, Texas; and June 24-25 at the Tallahassee Challenger Learning Center in Florida. The module also will be on display June 29-July 4 at the Kennedy Space Center's Visitor Complex.
During the carefully choreographed Pad-Abort-1 test launch in May 2010 at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, a new launch abort system propelled the prototype spacecraft off the launch pad to a speed of almost 445 mph in three seconds. The capsule then parachuted safely to the desert floor.
The Orion test module eventually will be moved to Kennedy's Operations and Checkout Facility for further study to aid development of NASA's Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle.
As a tug pushes from behind, NASA Dryden technicians guide the transport dolly carrying the Orion prototype capsule of NASA's Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle onto to lowboy trailer in preparation for its cross-country overland trip to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (NASA / Carla Thomas) The Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, or MPCV, is based on the Orion design requirements for traveling beyond Low Earth Orbit. The MPCV will serve as the exploration vehicle that will carry the crew to space, provide emergency abort capability, sustain the crew during the space travel, and provide safe re-entry from deep space return velocities.
For more on the Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/systems/mpcv