VIDEO: Orion’s Heat Shield Endures Extreme Temperatures

By  //  November 20, 2014

Orion set for December 4 launch

ABOVE VIDEO: Orion’s heat shield will endure temperatures near 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit in its December flight test. Engineer Molly White explains how it works in this video.

Mission: Orion Flight Test
Launch Date: Dec. 4, 2014
Launch Time: 7:05 a.m. EST
Launch Window: 2 hours, 39 minutes
Launch Site: Space Launch Complex 37, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
Splashdown (if launched at start of window): 11:29 a.m.

Orion will lift off aboard a Delta IV Heavy rocket to perform the first flight test in space of the spacecraft that is being designed to carry astronauts on exploration missions into deep space.

Orion will fly this mission without astronauts and will orbit the Earth twice reaching about 3,600 miles above the planet, 15 times higher than the International Space Station.

The spacecraft will re-enter Earth’s atmosphere at close to 20,000 mph and the heat shield will be tested against plasma that is 4,000 degrees. Orion is to splashdown in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja California, where it will be recovered by NASA and U.S. Navy teams.

ABOVE VIDEO: NASA’s Orion spacecraft is built to take humans farther than they’ve ever gone before. Orion will serve as the exploration vehicle that will carry the crew to space, provide emergency abort capability, sustain the crew during the space travel, and provide safe re-entry from deep space return velocities.