Orion Spaceship Adapter Looks Like a Giant Bowl of Soup, Has CubeSats Inside

Orion stage adapter with CubeSats inside 17 photos
Photo: NASA/Cory Huston
Somewhere in one of the vast NASA facilities, someone is constantly looking at a timer and calculates the time left until the Orion spacecraft will take off on top of the Space Launch System rocket, heading for the Moon. The rest of us, for now, are oblivious of that timer, and not even the one staring at it knows the exact time, but be sure it is counting down, and fast.
We know this because of the huge number of updates pertaining the first Artemis mission coming our way from NASA. The latest one has to do with the thing that will link the SLS and Orion together.

As you all know by now, NASA will use the massive SLS to lift Orion off the ground and send it into an orbit that would ultimately lead it to the Moon. Orion will be uncrewed (we don’t count the Arturo Campos dummy fitted inside as crew), but it will carry with it a number of CubeSats.

These tiny satellites will be transported into orbit, sandwiched between the capsule and the rocket, inside the so-called Orion stage adapter. That would be the bowl-of-soup-looking thing depicted in the main photo of this piece, presented last week by NASA.

The image shows over 15 anchoring points of sorts for the CubeSats on the inside rim of the bowl, some of them already occupied by the shoebox-sized machines, some empty. The adapter will be fitted on top of the SLS rocket, attached to the Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage at one end and to the Orion at the other, with the satellites sitting nice and cozy inside.

Once the rocket reaches orbit and separates from the Orion, placing it on its path to the Moon, the CubeSats will be deployed to “conduct a variety of science experiments and technology demonstrations including some that will expand our knowledge of the lunar surface during the Artemis I mission.”
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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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