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Artemis 1 Orion halfway through Plum Brook thermal vacuum test

30 Jan 2020, 19:44 UTC
Artemis 1 Orion halfway through Plum Brook thermal vacuum test
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The NASA Orion spacecraft that will fly the Artemis 1 lunar orbit mission is about halfway through two months of around the clock thermal vacuum testing at Plum Brook Station in Sandusky, Ohio. NASA and prime contractor Lockheed Martin are collecting data on the spacecraft’s behavior and performance while it operates in simulated deep space conditions.

The tests not only verify that the Orion spacecraft and its design meet requirements, but the data collected will help to calibrate analytical models of how the structure reacts to thermal conditions in flight and how the spacecraft’s thermal control system reacts to those conditions and the resulting impact on overall power usage. Functional testing has already been conducted at two cold thermal balance points with current testing being performed at a hot balance point.
The inside of the spacecraft was depressurized to near vacuum conditions early in the test to evaluate system performance in contingency conditions; when the testing returns to a cold thermal balance point, the test team will repressurize the crew cabin to evaluate that capability at extreme temperatures. Following thermal vacuum testing the test chamber at Plum Brook will be reconfigured for electromagnetic inference/compatibility (EMI/EMC) testing that will conclude the ...

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