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Exploration Flight Test-1

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Exploration Flight Test-1
Launch of EFT-1 on December 5, 2014
NamesOrion Flight Test-1 (OFT-1)
Mission typeUncrewed test flight
COSPAR ID2014-077A Edit this at Wikidata
SATCAT no.40329
Mission duration4 hours, 24 minutes
Orbits completed2
Spacecraft properties
SpacecraftOrion CM-001
Spacecraft typeOrion MPCV
ManufacturerLockheed Martin
Start of mission
Launch dateDecember 5, 2014, 12:05 (2014-12-05UTC12:05Z) UTC (07:05 EST)[1][2]
RocketDelta IV Heavy
Launch siteCape Canaveral SLC-37B
ContractorUnited Launch Alliance
End of mission
Recovered byUSS Anchorage
Landing dateDecember 5, 2014, 16:29 (2014-12-05UTC16:30Z) UTC
Landing sitePacific Ocean,
640 miles (1,030 km) SSE of San Diego
23°37′N 114°28′W / 23.61°N 114.46°W / 23.61; -114.46 (EFT-1 splashdown)
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
Apogee altitude5,800 kilometres (3,604 mi)

Exploration Flight Test-1 or EFT-1 (previously known as Orion Flight Test 1 or OFT-1) was the first test flight of the crew module portion of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle. Without a crew, it was launched on December 5, 2014, at 12:05 UTC (7:05 am EST), by a Delta IV Heavy rocket from Space Launch Complex 37B at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.[3]

The mission was a four-hour, two-orbit test of the Orion crew module featuring a high apogee on the second orbit and concluding with a high-energy reentry at around 8.9 kilometers per second (20,000 mph).[4] This mission design corresponds to the Apollo 2/3 missions of 1966, which validated the Apollo flight control system and heat shield at re-entry conditions planned for the return from lunar missions.

NASA heavily promoted the mission, collaborating with Sesame Street and its characters to educate children about the flight test and the Orion spacecraft.[5]


The flight was intended to test various Orion systems, including separation events, avionics, heat shielding, parachutes, and recovery operations prior to its flight aboard the Space Launch System on the Artemis 1 mission. Artemis 1 launched on November 16, 2022,[6] more than seven years after EFT-1.

Vehicle assembly[edit]

EFT-1 Orion was built by Lockheed Martin.[7] On June 22, 2012, the final welds of the EFT-1 Orion were completed at the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, Louisiana.[7] It was then transported to Kennedy Space Center's Operations and Checkout Building, where the remainder of the spacecraft was completed.[8] The Delta IV rocket was put in a vertical position on October 1, 2014, and Orion was mated with the vehicle on November 11.[9][10][11]


Mission diagram
Rendering of Orion capsule and Delta IV upper-stage during EFT-1
Earth seen from the EFT-1 Orion spacecraft

The four-and-a-half-hour flight took the Orion spacecraft on two orbits of Earth. Peak altitude was approximately 5,800 kilometres (3,600 mi). The high altitude allowed the spacecraft to reach reentry speeds of up to 8.9 km/s (20,000 mph), which exposed the heat shield to temperatures up to around 2,200 °C (4,000 °F).[4][12]

During the flight, the crew module, a structural representation of the service module, a partial launch abort system containing only the jettison motor, and Orion-to-stage adapter were evaluated.[12] The spacecraft remained attached to the dummy service module on the Delta IV's upper stage until re-entry began and relied on internal batteries for power rather than photovoltaic arrays, which were not contained in the structural representation.[13] Data gathered from the test flight were analyzed by the critical design review (CDR) in April 2015.[14]

Time Event
L-6:00:00 Orion powered on, mobile service tower retracts. Fueling of Delta IV Heavy begins
0:00:00 Launch window opens (7:05 a.m. EST, 12:05 UTC). EFT-1 launches.
0:01:23 Max Q
0:01:23 Reach Mach 1
0:03:56 Booster separation
0:05:30 First stage MECO (main engine cut-off)
0:05:33 First stage separation
0:05:49 Second stage ignition No. 1
0:06:15 Structural representation of service module fairing jettison
0:06:20 Launch Abort System jettison
0:17:39 SECO No. 1 (second engine cut-off), Orion begins first orbit
1:55:26 Orion completes first orbit, second stage ignition No. 2
2:00:09 SECO No. 2 (second engine cut-off)
2:05:00 Enter first high radiation period
2:20:00 Leave first high radiation period
2:40:00 Reaction control system (RCS) activation
3:05:00 Reach peak altitude (5,800 kilometers/3,600 miles)
3:23:41 Orion separates from service module and second stage, second stage performs disposal burn
3:57:00 Orion positions for reentry
4:13:41 Entry interface
4:20:22 Forward bay cover jettisons, parachute deployment begins (two drogues, three mains)
4:24:46 Splashdown and recovery by the USS Anchorage crew

After splashdown in the Pacific Ocean, crews from the USS Anchorage recovered the EFT-1 Orion crew vehicle. Plans were later made to outfit the capsule for an ascent abort test in 2017.[16]

Launch attempts[edit]

Attempt Planned Result Turnaround Reason Decision point Weather go (%) Notes
1 4 Dec 2014, 7:05:00 am Hold Fouled Range A boat entered the launch range.
2 4 Dec 2014, 7:17:00 am Hold 0 days, 0 hours, 12 minutes Weather Gust wind excess speed limit (21 kn or 24 mph or 39 km/h).
3 4 Dec 2014, 7:55:00 am Hold 0 days, 0 hours, 38 minutes Weather Gust wind excess speed limit (21 kn or 24 mph or 39 km/h).
4 4 Dec 2014, 8:26:00 am Hold 0 days, 0 hours, 31 minutes Technical  ​(T-00:03:09) A fuel fill and drain valve did not close.
5 4 Dec 2014, 9:44:00 am Scrubbed 0 days, 1 hour, 18 minutes Technical 24-hour recycle.
6 5 Dec 2014, 7:05:00 am Success 0 days, 21 hours, 21 minutes

Post-flight disposition of capsule[edit]

The Orion capsule used for EFT-1 is now on display at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, in the "NASA Now" exhibit.[17]



  1. ^ Rhian, Jason (March 14, 2014). "NASA's EFT-1 Mission Slips to December". SpaceFlight Insider. Archived from the original on May 13, 2016. Retrieved December 7, 2014.
  2. ^ Siceloff, Steven (December 5, 2014). "LIFTOFF! Orion Begins New Era in Space Exploration!". Orion. NASA. Retrieved December 7, 2014.
  3. ^ Foust, Jeff (December 5, 2014). "Delta 4 Heavy Launches Orion on Second Attempt". SpaceNews. Retrieved February 24, 2023.
  4. ^ a b Bergin, Chris (November 14, 2011). "EFT-1 Orion Receives Hatch Door—Denver Orion Ready for Modal Testing". NASASpaceflight.com. Retrieved November 16, 2011.
  5. ^ NASA (November 24, 2014). "Sesame Street Characters 'On Board' as NASA Counts Down to Orion's Test Flight". NASA.gov. Retrieved December 6, 2014.
  6. ^ "NASA: Artemis I". NASA. Retrieved September 2, 2022.
  7. ^ a b Clark, Stephen (June 26, 2012). "Space-bound Orion capsule to arrive in Florida next week". SpaceFlightNow. Retrieved June 28, 2012.
  8. ^ "NASA Unveils Orion During Ceremony". NASA. July 2, 2012. Retrieved July 3, 2012.
  9. ^ "NASA’s Orion Spacecraft, Rocket Move Closer to First Flight" NASA. Retrieved: 5 October 2014.
  10. ^ "Orion Spacecraft Complete" Archived October 31, 2014, at the Wayback Machine NASA. Retrieved: 30 October 2014.
  11. ^ "Orion Arrives at Launch Pad" NASA. Retrieved: 12 November 2014.
  12. ^ a b "Orion First Flight Test – NASA Facts" (PDF). NASA. Retrieved October 10, 2014.
  13. ^ "OFT-1: NASA gearing up for Orion's 2013 debut via Delta IV Heavy". August 8, 2011. Archived from the original on June 15, 2013. Retrieved 16 November 2011.
  14. ^ "EFT-1 September, 2014 launch date "paced" by the Delta IV-H". nasaspaceflight.com. November 7, 2012.
  15. ^ NASA. "Orion Exploration Flight Test-1" (PDF). Retrieved December 15, 2014.
  16. ^ Stephen Clark (November 23, 2011). "Cracks discovered in Orion capsule's pressure shell". Spaceflightnow.com. Retrieved November 23, 2011.
  17. ^ "Orion EFT-1 flown spacecraft joins display in 'NASA Now' exhibit | collectSPACE". collectSPACE.com. Retrieved September 21, 2020.

External links[edit]