Image Credit & Copyright: NASA. Look below for links to stream this event live as well as mission links and all the social media links you will ever want.
Thursday, December 4, 2014 at 07:05 EST (12:05 (UTC) history will be made at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) and Kennedy Space Center (KSC) as NASA’s Orion crew capsule leaves Earth as part of Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1).
Not only will this be a historic day, it will also be an awe inspiring one as it will be the world’s most powerful rocket (currently), the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV Heavy, lofting it into space from Cape Canaveral’s Space Launch Complex-37B (SLC-37B). This will be ULA’s 90th launch overall, the 28th Delta IV launch and the 6th launch of the Delta IV Heavy & 5th from Cape Canaveral.
The EFT-1 mission is an unmanned test flight designed to test critical systems and functions of the Lockheed Martin Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV). This is the capsule that will one day fly humans to asteroids, back to the Moon and on to Mars, expanding the human frontier and reaping the benefits of the knowledge and technology gained in the endeavor. The flight is scheduled to last 4.5 hours, make two orbits of the Earth and travel to a distance of 3,671 miles on its second orbit where it will endure high radiation levels in the Van Allen Radiation Belt. That’s 15 times further away than the International Space Station (ISS) and further than any human rated spacecraft has traveled in 40 years. It will test computers, avionics and attitude control as well as a 4,000 F degree, 20,000 mph reentry before parachuting down into the Pacific ocean at a mere 20 mph where the U.S. NAVY will then be there to recover the capsule.
After this flight, recommendations and improvements will be made where needed and hopefully when the final approval is given to construct the capsule humans will actually fly in they will allow Lockheed to build a handful of them because that 4 year build time creates a painful wait. In fact, I’m not entirely sure if the second capsule will be ready for the 2018 SLS test flight. That is, if by the time 2018 gets here the SLS test flight is still scheduled for 2018.
THE ROCKET: DELTA IV HEAVY.
The United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV Heavy built by Boeing is currently the world’s most powerful rocket. It’s a two stage heavy lift rocket that stands 235 ft. (70.0 m) high and 50 ft. (15.2 m) wide. It is launched from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) SLC-37B and California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB) SLC-6. It can lift 30,440 lbs. (13,810 kg) into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) and 62,540 lbs. (28,370 kg) into Low Earth Orbit (LEO).
MAIN PAYLOAD FAIRING (PLF): For this flight, the PLF will be replaced with the Service Module (SM) which is enshrouded in a 3-shell fairing; each of the three pieces is 14 feet high and 13 feet wide and will be jettisoned after launch. The Orion Crew Module (CM) is enclosed in a 4-shell fairing of ogive panels called the Fairing Assembly (FA) which is then secured to the Launch Abort System (LAS) sitting atop the stack. When the LAS is jettisoned, the FA will be removed from over the CM with it intact; no four piece fairing jettison needed.
During normal Delta IV Heavy flights the spacecraft is protected inside the two-shell 16.8 ft. (5.1 m) diameter, 62 ft. (19 m) high payload fairing until the rocket reaches an altitude high enough where the spacecraft won’t be damaged by air resistance and heating created by the speed of the rocket from that air resistance.
DELTA CRYOGENIC SECOND STAGE (DCSS) (2nd or Upper Stage) = is a larger second stage than the rest of the Delta IV family. It’s 42.8 ft. (13 m) long and 16.7 ft. (5.1 m) in diameter and is powered by a single Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10B-2 (RL-10) engine that burns cryogenic liquid hydrogen (LH2) fuel with liquid oxygen (LOX) oxidizer that produces 24,750 lb. of thrust.
STRAP ON COMMON BOOSTER CORES (SCBC): Delta IV Heavy utilizes two strap-on Common Booster Cores instead of strap-on Solid Rocket Motors and that is just what it sounds like; two Common Booster Cores attached to the port and starboard sides of the central CBC. This gives the vehicle its ultra-wide, three barreled posture that takes your breath away in awe anytime you see it weather its horizontal in the hangar, standing tall on the pad or thundering off into space.
These SCBC’s burn at 100% for the initial lift phase then they cut back to 57% power for cutoff and separation which comes around the T+242 second mark.
COMMON BOOSTER CORE (CBC) (1st Stage) = 133.9 ft. (40.8 m) long and 16.7 ft. (5.1 m) in diameter and is powered by the Aerojet Rocketdyne RS-68A engine system. The engine burns cryogenic liquid hydrogen (LH2) fuel with a liquid oxygen (LOX) oxidizer and produces 663,000 lb. of thrust at sea level.
For use with the Delta IV Heavy the CBC will, at T+50 seconds throttle down to around 57% power to save fuel. After separation of the SCBC’s the CBC will then fire back up to 100% power and use that remaining fuel to further propel the vehicle onward for another 88 seconds. Final shutdown and separation of the main CBC comes at T+328 seconds.
STREAM EFT-1 LIVE:
NASA TV: www.nasa.gov/ntv
NASA TV Ustream: http://www.ustream.tv/nasahdtv
NASA EXPLORATION FLIGHT TEST-1 (EFT-1):
NASA Orion: http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/systems/orion/
United Launch Alliance (ULA) EFT1 mission page: http://www.ulalaunch.com/delta-iv-heavy-to-launch-orions-first-flight.aspx
ULA EFT-1 Mission Booklet: http://www.ulalaunch.com/delta-iv-heavy-to-launch-orions-first-flight.aspx
NASA Orion Flight Test (press kit): http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/files/orion_flight_test_press_kit(1).pdf
NASA EFT-1 (fact sheet 1): http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/663703main_flighttest1_fs_051812.pdf
NASA EFT-1 (fact sheet 2): http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/fs-2014-08-005-jsc-orion-eft-final.pdf
NASA Orion (fast facts): http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/fs-2014-08-004-jsc-orion_quickfacts-web.pdf
NASA Orion Launch Abort System (LAS): http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/files/orion_las_fact_sheet.pdf
NASA Orion Recovery: http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/files/orion-recovery.pdf
NASA Orion Radiation: http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/np-2014-03-001-jsc-orion_radiation_handout.pdf
Lockheed Martin Orion: http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/products/orion.html
Lockheed Martin EFT-1: http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/ssc/orion-eft1.html
UNITED LAUNCH ALLIANCE (ULA) DELTA IV HEAVY:
ULA Boeing Delta Rocket family: http://www.ulalaunch.com/products_deltaiv.aspx
ULA Boeing Delta IV Heavy cutaway: http://www.ulalaunch.com/uploads/docs/DeltaIVHeavy_Cutaway.pdf
Boeing Delta IV page: http://www.boeing.com/boeing/defense-space/space/delta/delta4/delta4.page
Spaceflight 101 Delta IV Heavy information: http://www.spaceflight101.com/delta-iv-heavy.html
SOCIAL MEDIA MADNESS:
NASA Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NASA
NASA Twitter: https://twitter.com/nasa
NASA Instagram: http://instagram.com/NASA
NASA Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/+NASA
NASA HQ Photo Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/nasahqphoto/
NASA 2 Explore Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/nasa2explore
NASA Goddard Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/gsfc/
NASA Marshall Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/28634332@N05/
Orion Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NASAOrion
Orion Twitter: https://twitter.com/NASA_Orion
Orion Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/nasaorion
Orion Instagram: http://instagram.com/explorenasa
ULA Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ulalaunch
ULA Twitter: https://twitter.com/ulalaunch
ULA Instagram: http://instagram.com/ulalaunch
ULA YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/UnitedLaunchAlliance
Kennedy Space Center Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NASAKennedy
KSC Twitter: https://twitter.com/nasakennedy
KSC Instagram: http://instagram.com/kennedyspacecenter
Cape Canaveral Patrick AFB 45 Space Wing Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/45thSpaceWing
45 Space Wing Twitter: https://twitter.com/45thSpaceWing
Lockheed Martin Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lockheedmartin
Lockheed Martin Twitter: https://twitter.com/lockheedmartin
Lockheed Martin Instagram: http://instagram.com/lockheedmartin
Lockheed Martin Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/lockheedmartin/
NASA Space Launch System (SLS) Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NASASLS
NASA SLS Twitter: https://twitter.com/NASA_SLS