NASA Prepares for New Spacecraft's First Test Flight

The Orion spacecraft. Photo courtesy of NASA.
The Orion spacecraft. Photo courtesy of NASA.
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More than 100 employees from Cleveland's NASA Glenn Research Center have contributed to the spacecraft's design, including helping to create the electrical power and thermal protection systems.

Orion's deputy project manager Kathy Schubert has been working on the vehicle for more than seven years. she says her team is ready for the spacecraft to get its first test drive.

"The best testing we can do is to fly the vehicle in space, " said Schubert. "So we're gonna take all the critical data that we will then then use to improve the design of the vehicle, and reduce risks for future crews and future flights."

If all goes as planned on Thursday morning, the unmanned spacecraft will launch from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Station, circle the Earth twice, and eventually drop into the Pacific Ocean about four and a half hours later.

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