DENVER, 27 Oct. 2015. Lockheed Martin and NASA have completed most of Orion's Critical Design Review (CDR), according to officials who consider the spacecraft's design to be “mature enough to move into full-scale fabrication, assembly, integration, and test” of the vehicle, hardware systems and subsystems, and mission- and safety-critical software.
Orion's CDR kicked off in August 2015 and focused on the EM-1 design and additional common elements -- the structure, pyrotechnics, Launch Abort System, software, guidance, navigation and control, and many others -- to be included on the Exploration Mission-2 (EM-2) spacecraft.
The program is on track to complete the spacecraft's development to meet NASA's Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1) performance requirements, officials say. The full Orion EM-1 CDR process will conclude after the European Service Module CDR and a presentation to the NASA Agency Program Management Council in the spring.
The EM-1 vehicle is designed to accommodate all the necessary elements for human exploration of deep space, systems unique to the EM-2 mission, such as crew displays and the Environmental Control and Life Support System, will be evaluated at a later EM-2 CDR.
"The vast majority of Orion's design is over, and now we will only change things when new requirements come into play," says Michael Hawes, Lockheed Martin Orion vice president and program manager. "Considering the incredible complexity of this spacecraft, the team is very proud to have successfully completed the design review and is looking forward to seeing it fly."
In early 2016, Orion's crew module pressure vessel will be shipped to the Operations and Checkout Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. There it will undergo final assembly, integration, and testing in order to prepare for EM-1 when Orion is launched atop NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) for the first time. The test flight will send Orion into lunar distant retrograde orbit — a wide orbit around the moon that is farther from Earth than any human-rated spacecraft has ever traveled. The mission will last more than 20 days and will help certify the design and safety of Orion and SLS for human-rated exploration missions.
Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 112,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration, and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation's net sales for 2014 were $45.6 billion.