Exploration Flight Test 1
Launch of EFT-1 on December 5, 2014
|Mission type||Uncrewed test flight|
|Mission duration||4 hours, 24 minutes|
|Spacecraft type||Orion MPCV|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||December 5, 2014, 12:05UTC (07:05 EST)|
|Rocket||Delta IV Heavy|
|Launch site||Cape Canaveral SLC-37B|
|Contractor||United Launch Alliance|
|End of mission|
|Recovered by||USS Anchorage|
|Landing date||December 5, 2014, 16:29UTC|
640 miles (1,030 km) SSE of San Diego
|Apogee||5,800 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 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 Air Force Station.
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 20,000 miles per hour (32,000 km/h; 8,900 m/s). This mission design corresponds to the Apollo 4 mission of 1967, which validated the Apollo flight control system and heat shield at re-entry conditions planned for the return from lunar missions.
The flight was intended to test various Orion systems, including separation events, avionics, heat shielding, parachutes, and recovery operations prior to its debut launch aboard the Space Launch System, currently scheduled for some time in 2019.
EFT-1 Orion was built by Lockheed Martin. On June 22, 2012, the final welds of the EFT-1 Orion were completed at the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, Louisiana. It was then transported to Kennedy Space Center's Operations and Checkout Building, where the remainder of the spacecraft was completed. The Delta IV rocket was put in a vertical position on October 1, 2014, and Orion was mated with the vehicle on November 11.
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 20,000 mph (32,000 km/h; 8,900 m/s), which exposed the heat shield to temperatures up to around 4,000 °F (2,200 °C).
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. The spacecraft remained attached to 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. Data gathered from the test flight were analyzed by the critical design review (CDR) in April 2015.
|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||Reach Mach 1|
|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|
|4:20:22||Forward bay cover jettisons, parachute deployment begins (two drogues, three mains)|
After splashdown in the Pacific Ocean, crews recovered the EFT-1 Orion crew vehicle and will outfit the capsule for an ascent abort test in 2017.
|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 knots)|
|3||4 Dec 2014, 7:55:00 am||Hold||0 days, 0 hours, 38 minutes||Weather||Gust wind excess speed limit. (21 knots)|
|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|
- Rhian, Jason (14 March 2014). "NASA's EFT-1 Mission Slips to December". SpaceFlight Insider. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
- Siceloff, Steven (5 December 2014). "LIFTOFF! Orion Begins New Era in Space Exploration!". Orion. NASA. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
- Bergin, Chris (14 November 2011). "EFT-1 Orion Receives Hatch Door—Denver Orion Ready for Modal Testing". NASASpaceflight.com. Retrieved 16 November 2011.
- NASA (24 November 2014). "Sesame Street Characters 'On Board' as NASA Counts Down to Orion's Test Flight". NASA.gov. Retrieved 6 December 2014.
- Clark, Stephen (28 April 2017). "NASA confirms first flight of Space Launch System will slip to 2019". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 29 April 2017.
- Clark, Stephen (26 June 2012). "Space-bound Orion capsule to arrive in Florida next week". SpaceFlightNow. Retrieved 28 June 2012.
- "NASA Unveils Orion During Ceremony". NASA. 2 July 2012. Retrieved 3 July 2012.
- "NASA’s Orion Spacecraft, Rocket Move Closer to First Flight" NASA. Retrieved: 5 October 2014.
- "Orion Spacecraft Complete" NASA. Retrieved: 30 October 2014.
- "Orion Arrives at Launch Pad" NASA. Retrieved: 12 November 2014.
- "Orion First Flight Test – NASA Facts" (PDF). NASA. Retrieved October 10, 2014.
- "OFT-1: NASA gearing up for Orion's 2013 debut via Delta IV Heavy". August 8, 2011. Archived from the original on March 12, 2013. Retrieved 16 November 2011.
- "EFT-1 September, 2014 launch date "paced" by the Delta IV-H". nasaspaceflight.com.
- NASA. "Orion Exploration Flight Test-1" (PDF). Retrieved 15 December 2014.
- Stephen Clark (23 November 2011). "Cracks discovered in Orion capsule's pressure shell". Spaceflightnow.com. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Exploration Flight Test-1.|
- Orion MPCV homepage (NASA)
- EFT-1 Fact sheet (NASA)
- EFT-1 Press kit (NASA)
- Animation of the EFT-1 mission (NASA)
- Video of the launch of EFT-1 – 5 December 2014 (NASA)
- Video of the landing of the EFT-1 Orion – 5 December 2014 (NASA/U.S. Navy)
- Orion GTA-1 fabrication and configuration, Delta 4 Heavy images