Deep space capsule comes alive with first weld

Sep 12, 2011
Construction on the first space-bound Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Module began with the first weld at the Michoud Assembly Facility on Sept. 9. 2011. This capsule will be used during Orion's first test flight in space. After welding is completed at Michoud, the Orion spacecraft orbital test article will be shipped to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, where the heat shield will be installed. At Kennedy, it will undergo final assembly and checkout operations for eventual flight. Credit: NASA

(PhysOrg.com) -- Construction began this week on the first new NASA spacecraft built to take humans to orbit since space shuttle Endeavour left the factory in 1991, and marked a significant milestone in carrying out the ambitious exploration vision President Obama and Congress have laid out for the nation.

Engineers at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans started welding together the first space-bound Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle. "The Orion team has maintained a steady focus on progress, and we now are beginning to build hardware for spaceflight," said Orion Program Manager Mark Geyer, NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston.

"This marks a major milestone in NASA's ambitious plans to send humans farther into space than the nation has ever been before," said NASA spokesman David Weaver, Headquarters, Washington. "We're not only working to send people into deep space, we are putting people to work right here in America."

The first welds were completed Friday using an innovative new friction stir welding process, developed especially for Orion construction. The process creates a seamless, leak-proof bond that has proven stronger and higher in quality than can be achieved with conventional welding.

After welding is completed at Michoud, the orbital test article will be shipped to NASA's in Florida, where the will be installed. At Kennedy, it will undergo final assembly and checkout operations for flight.

Explore further: Experts: Mystery fireball was Russian satellite

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NASA selects Ares I upper state contractor

Aug 29, 2007

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has selected The Boeing Co. to provide design and construction support for the Ares I rocket upper stage.

NASA Glenn to Test Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle

Mar 19, 2007

NASA's Glenn Research Center will conduct integrated environmental testing of the Orion crew exploration vehicle in the Space Power Facility at the center's Plum Brook Station in Sandusky, Ohio.

Recommended for you

Video: MAVEN set to slide into orbit around Mars

4 hours ago

A NASA mission to Mars led by the University of Colorado Boulder is set to slide into orbit around the red planet this week after a 10-month, 442-million mile chase through the inner solar system. 

Dawn operating normally after safe mode triggered

4 hours ago

(Phys.org) —The Dawn spacecraft has resumed normal ion thrusting after the thrusting unexpectedly stopped and the spacecraft entered safe mode on September 11. That anomaly occurred shortly before a planned ...

Repaired Opportunity rover readies for 'Marathon Valley'

5 hours ago

With a newly cleared memory, it's time for Opportunity to resume the next stage of its long, long Martian drive. The next major goal for the long-lived rover is to go to Marathon Valley, a spot that (in images ...

Image: Rainbow aurora captured from space station

8 hours ago

Auroras occur when particle radiation from the Sun hits Earth's upper atmosphere, making it glow in a greenish blue light. ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst has one of our planet's best views of this phenomenon, ...

Experts: Mystery fireball was Russian satellite

11 hours ago

People from New Mexico to Montana saw the bright object break apart as it moved slowly northward across the night sky. Witnesses described it as three "rocks" with glowing red and orange streaks.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

89118a
not rated yet Sep 12, 2011
Thank you. :)