Here Hides the Orion Spaceship, Ready to Receive the Launch Abort System

Orion capsule in a shell 6 photos
Photo: ESA
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At the time of this writing, there is no exact date set for the Artemis I mission launch. NASA is targeting November 22, and that may change, depending on a variety of factors, yet the reality remains: there’s a great chance we’ll get to see the start of Earth’s new Moon exploration program this year.
A lot of time and money went into making the hardware that is supposed to return humans to the Moon. That would be the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, and the Orion spaceship that will be propped on top of it.

Both these pieces of technology are present in the final months of their assembly process, albeit separately. Whereas the SLS is now inside the massive NASA Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at the Kenedy Space Center, the Orion was just moved to the Launch Abort System Facility in the same location.

You can see the moment the spacecraft was moved in the main photo of this piece, released by the European Space Agency (ESA), which is supplying the European Service Module for the ship, a fancy name given to a repurposed shuttle engine.

The photo does not show the Orion, as it hides inside a protective shell, but ESA does give us a summary of what’s in there: 30 engines, four solar panel arrays, 8.6 tons of propellant, and 11 km (6.8 miles) of cables.

While at the Launch Abort System Facility, the Orion will be fitted with the launch abort system, the technology that is meant to eject the capsule from the rocket if something wrong happens during takeoff.

The Artemis I mission will depart without astronauts. The Orion will be asked to fly to the Moon, go around it twice, and then head back to Earth for a safe landing.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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