Press Release

NASA Ames Invites Media to Orion Spacecraft’s First Test Flight Local Activities

By SpaceRef Editor
November 25, 2014
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The first flight test of Orion, NASA’s next-generation spacecraft that will send astronauts to an asteroid and onward to Mars, is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 4. NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, is hosting media opportunities on Dec. 3, to preview unique Ames facilities used in Orion’s development, and on Dec. 4 for a public event to view Orion’s launch and splashdown with local experts.

During the 4.5-hour flight, called Exploration Flight Test-1, Orion will travel farther than any crewed spacecraft has gone in more than 40 years, before returning to Earth at speeds near 20,000 mph and generating temperatures up to 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Ames contributed significantly to research, development and testing in the areas of aerodynamics and thermophysics which will make successful flights of Orion possible. 

To highlight contributions to the mission by NASA’s center in Silicon Valley, news media are invited to attend two opportunities at Ames. 

media preview day is scheduled for Dec. 3 from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. PST. Participating members of the media will hear overviews of Orion and Ames’ contributions to the mission from subject matter experts, and will have opportunities for individual interviews. In addition, members of the media who are U.S. citizens may register to attend, photograph and film a tour of locations where Orion support has occurred, including:

Arc Jet Facilities, which heat gasses to thousands of degrees Fahrenheit and blast material samples to simulate the extreme conditions of atmospheric entry

Unitary Plan Wind Tunnel, which tested models of Orion at supersonic air speeds

NASA Advanced Supercomputing facilities, home to the seventh fastest computer in the United States

public event for launch and splashdown viewing is scheduled for Dec. 4 from 1 a.m. to noon, with a public program including mission scientists and engineers, hands-on activities and a live broadcast of the launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and the spacecraft’s splashdown approximately 600 miles southwest of San Diego. The launch window opens at 4:05 a.m., and the splashdown window opens at 8:29 a.m. Throughout the event Ames subject matter experts will brief the public on areas of contribution to the mission.

To register to cover these events, members of the media should contact Jessica Culler at before 3 p.m. on Dec. 2.

For information about Orion, visit:

For information about the public event Ames is hosting for Orion’s launch, visit:


SpaceRef staff editor.