Inside the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building high bay at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, technicians have removed a side thermal window from one of Orion’s tile panels.
The tile panels with thermal windows intact were removed from Orion in the Launch Abort System Facility after the spacecraft returned to Kennedy in late December. All of the windows are being removed and disassembled for post-flight inspection for any signs of micrometeoroid or orbital debris impacts or other potential glass damage.
Orion launched aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket on Exploration Flight Test-1 on Dec. 5, 2014. After a two-orbit, 4.5 hour mission, Orion splashed down in the Pacific Ocean and was retrieved by NASA, Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Navy.
The spacecraft was secured in the well deck of the USS Anchorage and brought to Naval Base San Diego, where it was offloaded, secured in a container and transported back to Kennedy for analysis. Orion will next launch atop the agency’s Space Launch System rocket. The spacecraft will help enable missions to an asteroid and on toward Mars.