The Orion spacecraft is now on track to meet NASA’s performance requirements for its Exploration Mission 1 launch in September 2018. Lockheed Martin Space Systems reviewed the structure, pyrotechnics, Launch Abort System, software, guidance, navigation and control on the Orion has cleared the spacecraft for full-scale fabrication, assembly, and integration. The spacecraft will be transported to the Operations and Checkout Facility and Kennedy Space Center in early 2016 to undergo final preparations.
EM-1 will send Orion on a wide orbit mission around the moon for 20 days. This will mission will mark the farthest that any spacecraft approved for transporting humans has ever traveled away from Earth. This uncrewed test flight is in preparation for Orion’s intended purpose of carrying out manned missions to explore asteroids and Mars. The first manned missions are expected to launch in 2023 at earliest.