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NASA’s Orion Spacecraft Complete; Media Invited to Learn More about Its First Flight

NASA’s new Orion spacecraft received finishing touches Thursday, marking the conclusion of construction on the first spacecraft designed to send humans into deep space beyond the moon, including a journey to Mars that begins with its first test flight Dec. 4.

To provide more detail on what this first flight entails, NASA will host a preflight briefing at 11 a.m. EST Nov. 6 at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The news conference will be broadcast live on NASA TV and on the agency’s website.

The briefing participants are:

  • William Hill, deputy associate administrator for Exploration Systems Development
  • Mark Geyer, Orion Program manager
  • Bryan Austin, Lockheed Martin mission director
  • Mike Sarafin, Orion flight director
  • Jeremy Graeber, recovery director
  • Ron Fortson, United Launch Alliance director of mission management

U.S. media must apply for credentials to attend the briefing in person at Kennedy by noon Nov. 5. All media representatives must present two forms of legal, government identification to access Kennedy. One form must be a photo ID, such as a passport or driver’s license. Badges will be available for pickup at the Kennedy Badging Office, located on State Road 405 east of the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Hours for the Kennedy Badging Office are 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Media accreditation requests must be submitted online at:

The deadline for international media to attend in person already has passed.

Accredited journalists who cannot attend in person may ask questions by phone by calling the Kennedy Press Site at 10:30 a.m. at 321-867-2468. Reporters also may attend remotely from participating NASA centers.

The assembled Orion crew module, service module, launch abort system and adapter will reside in Kennedy’s Launch Abort System Facility until its scheduled rollout to the launch pad, set for Nov. 10. At the launch pad, it will be lifted onto the United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket that will carry it into space for its uncrewed flight test.

“This is just the first of what will be a long line of exploration missions beyond low earth orbit, and in a few years we will be sending our astronauts to destinations humans have never experienced,” said Bill Hill, deputy associate administrator for Exploration Systems Development “It’s thrilling to be a part of the journey now, at the beginning.”

The December flight test will send Orion 3,600 miles from Earth on a two-orbit flight intended to ensure the spacecraft’s critical systems are ready for the challenges of deep space missions.

During the 4.5-hour flight, called Exploration Flight Test-1, Orion will travel farther than any crewed spacecraft has gone in more than 40 years, before returning to Earth at speeds near 20,000 mph and generating temperatures up to 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

For information about Orion and its first flight, visit:


Rachel Kraft
Headquarters, Washington
Brandi Dean
Johnson Space Center, Houston
Amber Philman
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.