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Orion Forward Bay Cover Jettison Test at Lockheed Martin

By Keith Cowing
May 24, 2019
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Orion Forward Bay Cover Jettison Test at Lockheed Martin
Jettison Test at Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin recently tested a critical event on NASA’s Orion spaceship – the jettison of the forward bay cover on the program’s structural test article.
As an Orion spaceship returns to Earth from the Moon, a critical event that must happen for the parachutes to deploy is the jettison of the capsule’s forward bay cover. The forward bay cover is affixed above the portion of the crew module’s back shell that houses the parachutes.

The jettison mechanism is quick and powerful – generating thrust equal to 26,250 lbs. of force, launching the 1000-lb. forward bay cover away from the capsule. During separation, the cover accelerates to a speed of almost 30 mph in just over half a second.

The test was performed on the Orion structural test article at the company’s Littleton, Colorado facility. The successful test not only validated the jettison mechanisms but also validated the structural stress models used in designing the crew module.

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