The Orion spacecraft makes its way to Plum Brook Station


The tests begin with a thermal test lasting about 60 days, in which the Orion Spacecraft running powered on to simulate a space environment. Plum Brook houses facilities such as a space simulation vacuum chamber measuring 100 feet in diameter by 122 feet high and an acoustic test chamber that can simulate the noise of a spacecraft launch up to 163 decibels. After parachuting to Earth, the Orion spacecraft can be refurbished and launched again on future missions.

The Orion coming out of the Super Guppy on Monday.

Once testing is complete, Orion will be returned to Kennedy for integration with the Space Launch System in preparation for the uncrewed Artemis I Moon mission. On Sunday, the space agency dusted it off and used it to haul the Orion spacecraft from Kennedy Space Center to Mansfield Lahm Airport in Ohio. The Super Guppy entered service in 1965 in order to transport pieces of the Apollo-era Saturn V rockets around the country.

The Super Guppy is quite a looker. It has a maximum cruising speed of 480 km / h and can carry 24,000 kg of freight. It can also cool the contents of the chamber to -300 degrees Fahrenheit. The 48,000-pound Orion Spacecraft arrived aboard NASA's Super Guppy aircraft encased in a plastic protective cover, a scene similar to the last time NASA's Super Guppy brought Mars Orion Capsule to Cape Canaveral in Florida. After that, NASA will test each system on the spacecraft for two weeks to ensure that it is not susceptible to electromagnetic interference. The Moon will fly past on the Artemis 2 mission in 2022 or 2023.