Washington, Oct. 29 (ANI): NASA's first-ever deep space craft, Orion, has been powered on for the first time.
Orion's avionics system was installed on the crew module and powered up for a series of systems tests at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida last week.
All of Orion's avionics systems will be put to the test during its first mission, Exploration Flight Test-1(EFT-1), targeted to launch in the fall of 2014.
Dan Dumbacher, NASA's deputy associate administrator for exploration systems development in Washington, said that Orion will take humans farther than they've ever been before, and in just about a year they're going to send the Orion test vehicle into space.
He said that the work they're doing now, the momentum they're building, is going to carry them on their first trip to an asteroid and eventually to Mars. No other vehicle currently being built can do that, but Orion will, and EFT-1 is the first step.
EFT-1 is a two-orbit, four-hour mission that will send Orion, uncrewed, more than 3,600 miles above the Earth's surface --15 times farther than the International Space Station.
During the test, Orion will return to Earth, enduring temperatures of 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit while travelling 20,000 miles per hour, faster than any current spacecraft capable of carrying humans. (ANI)