From Florida to the Moon and back, NASA’s Orion spacecraft is still making moves. The crew module that flew more than 1.4 million miles during the agency’s historic Artemis I mission is getting ready for its next destination – NASA’s Neil Armstrong Test Facility in Sandusky, Ohio.
Technicians inside NASA’s Multi-Payload Processing Facility at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, use a crane to lift the Artemis I spacecraft – now called an environmental test article – into the crew module transportation fixture in preparation for its departure. Engineers will use it in qualification tests to better understand how Orion would perform in the event of a launch or inflight abort.
After splashing down in the Pacific Ocean, the Orion spacecraft for the Artemis I mission returned to Kennedy in December 2022. Components scheduled for reuse on Artemis II were removed and the crew module was reconfigured to serve as a test article. With crew module function tests now complete, the test article has been prepared for transport with the installation of the aft, mid bay back shell, and the side hatch in final closure.