#Orion at JPL/Armstrong (Part 1)

If everything goes well, the day after this blog is posted, NASA will launch its next generation human-rated spacecraft: Orion. The specific mission is known as Exploration Flight Test 1, or EFT-1 in NASA-speak. WATCH LIVE at NASA TV (NASASocial events today and launch tomorrow).

Orion Flight Test Profile (NASA)
Orion Flight Test Profile (NASA)

The Orion EFT-1 mission is currently scheduled to launch at 7:05 am EST on Thursday, December 4th. The EFT-1 will send the Orion spacecraft—without a crew—on a two-orbit test-flight. Orion will travel 3,600 miles from Earth. This is the furthest that a human-rated spacecraft has travelled form Earth since the Apollo era.

The flight test will last 4.5 hours, and the Orion crew vehicle will return to the Earth’s atmosphere at speeds greater than 20,000 mph. The reentry will heat Orion’s skin to temperatures of up to 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Orion will splashdown in the Pacific Ocean where it will be recovered by the U.S. Navy and NASA.

Orion Ready for Launch (NASA)
Orion Ready for Launch (NASA)

As a part of the run-up to this exciting mission, NASA is hosting a series of NASASocial events spread across nine separate NASA locations. NASA has been deemed the eighth most engaged brand on social media, and the NASASocial program—which originally began as NASA Tweetups—is a significant part of NASA’s social media and outreach programs.

Doug was one of 40 lucky social media users chosen to attend the #Orion NASASocial at Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The event was jointly sponsored with the Armstrong Flight Research Center (formerly Dryden).

The day’s program went as follows: Morning, Orion NASA Social TV Broadcast; Afternoon session 1, an Expert Speaker Program covering the roles of JPL and Armstrong in Orion; and Afternoon session 2, a JPL tour.

We’ll cover these sessions in future posts. Until then, get a sense of the NASASocial program by looking at write-ups from the previous events that we’ve attended.

#GRAIL (September 2011)

Dryden Aeronautics (May 2012)

NASA Airborne Science Program (January 2013)

#EarthNow (November 2013)

 ALSO PART 2 of JPL/Armstrong available HERE!

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