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NASA Planning Lockheed Orion Test Flight in 2014

Photo: physorg.com

NASA revealed plans Tuesday on the Federal Business Opportunities procurement website for an unmanned test flight of its Orion space capsule.

According to NextGov.com, NASA said this flight will test the entry, descent and landing functions, including the heat shield, propulsion, guidance, navigation, control and parachute recovery systems of the Orion capsule.

Lockheed Martin received an $8 billion contract from NASA in 2006 to develop the Orion and said it will modify the contract to make sure the 2014 test flight is covered. Josh Byerly, NASA spokesman at the Johnson Space Flight Center in Houston, estimated the cost of the test flight to be about $370 million.

NASA said this test flight is “key to providing test data that is critical to influence design decisions and validate Orion spacecraft systems in flight environments that cannot be duplicated on the ground.”

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