Merritt Island Aerospace Students Tour Orion Facility
By Space Coast Daily // August 29, 2014
da Vinci Academy of Aerospace Technology
BREVARD COUNTY • MERRITT ISLAND, FLORIDA – Six students from Merritt Island High School’s da Vinci Academy of Aerospace Technology got an up-close look at the Orion spacecraft during a special tour by Lockheed Martin management.
The tour –at the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Facility – was led by the LM Orion Operations Manager Jules Schneider and LM program planner Kari Peppers.
Schneider briefed the students on the spacecraft’s test flight in December as well as plans for the future.
He said that after the upcoming initial test flight, there will be two more tests before the spacecraft has a crew – sometime in 2020.
“Today was one of the best field trips I have ever been on,” said Senior Tyler Dixon. “It was great to have the man in charge take time to show us around.”
Orion will have the capability to fly four astronauts to an asteroid retrieval mission and a trip back to the Moon. Schneider said it could also play a role in a future trip to Mars.
“It would only be one component of a Mars mission,” he said. “While it is great for the 3-4 day trip to the moon, most of us would not want to be in that tight space for such a long trip.”
The students also toured the Launch Abort System Facility to see the apparatus that is designed to eject a manned Orion spacecraft away from a launch vehicle that is not functioning nominally.
The Orion is designed to return to Earth similarly to the Apollo spacecraft with a system of parachutes, which would land it in the ocean.
The MIHS da Vinci Academy of Aerospace Technology is a grades 9-12 Choice Program in Brevard Public Schools.
If you would like more information on this program, contact Charles Parker at 321-537-0203 or firstname.lastname@example.org.