[image-51]It was a good fit for a spacecraft adapter and a Delta IV test article, as two critical elements of Exploration Flight Test-1 were successfully connected during a fit check June 26 at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.
The adapter will join the Orion spacecraft to a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV rocket which is being constructed at ULA's facility in Decatur, Ala., and will launch Orion on the 2014 flight test.
During EFT-1, Orion will travel to an altitude of approximately 3,600 miles above Earth’s surface, farther than any spacecraft built for humans has gone in more than 40 years. It will provide engineers with early flight performance data before the spacecraft is flown in 2017 on NASA's new heavy-lift rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS). Together, Orion and SLS will allow future explorers to travel farther into our solar system than ever before.
"Great work is being done in North Alabama in preparation for EFT-1," said Mark Geyer, Orion Program Manager from Johnson Space Center in Houston. "The capabilities of the Orion spacecraft and SLS launch vehicle will open exciting deep space destinations, including sending humans to an asteroid, and ultimately sending humans to Mars."
The adapter weighs about 1,000 pounds and is being designed and built at Marshall. United Launch Alliance delivered a full-size test section of the rocket in early June specifically for the June 26 adapter fit check.
"The fit check we had today was successful and gets us even closer to launch," said Kris Walsh, EFT-1 program manager for United Launch Alliance. "We are thrilled to be a part of the team that is getting Orion ready for its first orbital flight test."
For more information on Orion, visit http://www.nasa.gov/sls/.
For more information on SLS, visit http://www.nasa.gov/sls/.