Plane carrying Orion spaceship set to land Sunday in Mansfield

Pablo Tucker
November 27, 2019

The Orion Spacecraft will be tested in NASA's Plum Brook Station, located inside Brook Park, and is part of the Glenn Research Center.

Assuming the spacecraft passes all of those trials, Orion will be loaded up on NASA's Super Guppy once again for its trip back to Kennedy Space Center.

NASA's ambitions for manned spaceflight have not been so high for decades. Researchers will test Orion's systems in a vacuum chamber before it is launched in the unmanned Artemis One mission to the moon next year.

The Orion spacecraft for Artemis 1, which is being carried by NASA's Giant Guppy, arrived in Mansfield on Sunday. This will be an unoccupied flight, but NASA still needs to make sure that the vehicle survives the harsh conditions of space. NASA still uses these aircraft today to transport large devices such as the Orion. You can't just FedEx it to OH, but NASA has an aircraft specifically for this kind of operation called the Super Guppy. It's the Super Guppy, and it's an absolute joy to see. The 48,000-pound Orion Spacecraft arrived aboard NASA's Super Guppy aircraft encased in a plastic protective cover, a scene similar to the last time NASA's Super Guppy brought Mars Orion Capsule to Cape Canaveral in Florida.

The Plum Brook vacuum chamber takes just eight hours to go from normal Earth atmospheric pressure to a so-called "hard vacuum" that you'd find in space. After that, NASA will spend two weeks testing every system on the spacecraft to ensure it's not susceptible to electromagnetic interference.

The mission will pave the way for manned missions to the Moon under Artemis.

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