A mere five days after its test launch, a systems engineer working on NASA’s Orion Multipurpose Crew Exploration Vehicle will share his experiences working on the project, and participating in the launch. Working with Stellar Solutions at Lockheed Martin, Jim Clawson is part of the Orion mission’s Integrated Vehicle Performance Team, focused on sequencing automated functions and assessing anticipated thermal, power and communications functionality.
The December flight test from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station will send the unscrewed Orion spacecraft 3,600 miles from Earth on a two-orbit flight to test critical systems for a series of future deep space missions. During the 4.5-hour flight, Orion will travel farther than any crewed spacecraft has gone in more than 40 years, before reentering Earth’s atmosphere at speeds near 20,000 mph and generating temperatures up to 4,000 Fahrenheit. This initial test flight will evaluate launch and high-speed reentry systems, such as avionics, altitude control, parachutes and heat shield.