Orion takes shape:
The Orion crew module for Exploration Flight Test-1 is shown in the Final Assembly and System Testing (FAST) Cell, positioned over the service module just prior to mating the two sections together. The FAST cell is where the integrated crew and service modules are put through their final system tests prior to rolling out of the Operations and Checkout Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Technicians are in position to assist with the final alignment steps once the crew module is nearly in contact with the service module. In December, Orion will launch 3,600 miles into space in a four-hour flight to test the systems that will be critical for survival in future human missions to deep space.
Image Credit: NASA
I was born in 1969. I grew up in awe of astronauts, the Saturn V, and the Apollo program. Still, it startles me how Orion and the SLS reach deep inside me and reignite that childhood excitement. I can’t wait until they light this candle.
The upper three photos show the Orion water recovery test vehicle before and after its test operations last august. The rest of the images show the capsule and hardware for the Exploration Flight Test 1 mission scheduled for December, 2014. It is the first flight-ready Orion capsule, and is in final assembly at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
IT’S HAPPENING! OMGOMGOMG! SPACESHIP!!!
What’s in a name? Part I
In my High School debate tournaments there was this kid with a out of this world name - something like Orion Cosmos.
You’d think with a name like that, this poor kid would kinda look like somebody who’d been teased a lot. Who shrugged when spoken to, who would hate to introduce himself during roll call, who would dread the question “So what kind of name is THAT?”
And it was the opposite. Orion Cosmos was awesome. Everybody liked him. He was happy to introduce himself and his weird name. He was magnetic, and was famous in debate circles for learning circular breathing: he could breath while he spoke and thus didn’t have to pause to take breathes during speech debates. His confidence was endearing and infectious.
That kid totally owned his name. Reminds me of Die Hard, when John McClane was figuring out Zeus Carver’s name for the first time: “Zeus?” “Yeah Zeus! As in, father of Apollo? Mt. Olympus? Don’t fuck with me or I’ll shove a lightning bolt up your ass? Zeus! You got a problem with that?” “No, I don’t have a problem with that.” Zeus Carver definitely knew who he was and one of the reasons why Die Hard II was better than the original.
In high school we’re trying to figure out how to be social. There were kids who tried everything to get friends: wear the trendiest clothes, get the latest gadgets, gossip, do whatever their friends said so they could be part of the club. Then there were the kids who had come into their own, who knew who they were and what they wanted. The latter kids were naturally attractive and popular. And the former kids, well I think most of us figured it out by adulthood: trying to please everyone isn’t attractive.
Being who you were meant to be is naturally attractive. It doesn’t matter if you have a weird name like Orion Cosmos or Zeus Carver, or your age or ability. We all admire people who come into their own, from all walks of life. They know their insecurities, and have some control over them instead of ignoring them and being controlled by insecurity.
In part II, I’ll talk about changing the name of Unitarian Universalism, and why this all matters, but I’m sure you can make some connections yourself.
Now I want to change the family name to Cosmos.
NORFOLK (Aug. 12, 2013) Sailors aboard the amphibious transport dock ship USS Arlington (LPD 24) load an Orion capsule onto the well deck of Arlington as part of NASA’s first key Orion stationary recovery test at Naval Station Norfolk. NASA is partnering with the U.S. Navy to develop procedures to recover the Orion capsule and crew after splashdown. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Scott Barnes / Released)
My career has taken flight to new heights that I never imagined before. As a parachute consultant for the Orion Spacecraft, I find myself working at over 10,000 feet to ensure the parachute system tests go as planned.
There are a lot of cool aspects to my job: learning new systems and working with extraordinary people. I enjoy working with the photographers on the chase helicopter during the parachute drop tests. I’m in the helicopter with the doors open, working with the team to make real time decisions to capture the right shots.
I bring experience to Orion from my work for the Navy — parachutes for ejection seats and bailout systems and chutes of all sizes for anything we need to slow down. I also work with the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab helping to design chutes for a Mars landing. Designing for Mars presents a whole new set of challenges and we’ll use this knowledge when humans travel to Mars on Orion.
I am proud that the work I do can and does save lives. It was very rewarding to work on the bailout system for the Shuttle astronauts, knowing that they could escape if there was a problem. My greatest accomplishment is working on a parachute system that saved the lives of a crew after their Navy aircraft caught fire.
I was born in Des Moines Iowa and grew up in Jefferson City Missouri. I was inspired by my older brother, who was an engineer. I graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Missouri, Columbia and began working at the Naval Warfare Center a year later. In 2005 my colleagues asked me to join the Orion Program.
I would tell students that there is a world of opportunities in the engineering field. Engineers have a chance to make a difference not only in the space program but in the lives of families and people all over the world.
Stepping into the Orion Crew Module
NASA astronauts Cady Coleman and Ricky Arnold step into the Orion crew module hatch during a series of spacesuit check tests conducted on June 13, 2013 at the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.
The Orion crew module will serve as both transport and a home to astronauts during future long-duration missions to an asteroid, Mars and other destinations throughout our solar system.
Image Credit: NASA/Bill Stafford
That’s a beautiful thing.
The above image shows the nebula in three colors specifically emitted by hydrogen, oxygen, and sulfur gas. The whole Orion Nebula cloud complex, which includes the Horsehead Nebula, will slowly disperse over the next 100,000 years. — César Blanco González