Orion Flies In July 2013

According to Colorado’s 9News.com, the Orion MPCV’s first flight is being targeted for sometime in July 2013. The article also mentions the acoustics testing that the Orion spacecraft began today. Lockheed Martin plans to run a series of tests in an acoustic chamber that will subject the Orion spacecraft of up to 150db, the level of sound energy the spacecraft would experience at launch. The acoustics testing includes the current Orion Ground Test Vehicle (GTV) mated with its launch abort system, or LAS. The acoustics testing is part of the human rating process for the Orion MPCV to be certified by NASA to carry astronauts.

The Orion MPCV began development as part of NASA’s Constellation Program. Several commercial crewed spacecraft are currently in development such as SpaceX’s Dragon, Boeing’s CST-100, and Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser. The CST-100 is not slated to fly astronauts until 2015. In February 2011, Sierra Nevada stated that it planed a crewed test flight in May 2012. As NASA’s human rating standards for commercial crew vehicles remain a work in progress, no commercial spacecraft has yet been certified by NASA for crewed flight.

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