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Orion crew capsule suffers a setback

Fixing a failed power component could bring additional delays to the Artemis-critical spacecraft, which aims to help return humans to the Moon within the decade.
RELATED TOPICS: CREWED SPACEFLIGHT | NASA
orionabortflighttest
On July 2, 2019, NASA tested the Launch Abort System (LAS) of the Orion spacecraft. However, recent issues might delay the project.
NASA/Tony Gray and Kevin O'Conne

On November 30, NASA announced the Orion spacecraft — which is expected to play a critical role in returning U.S. astronauts to the Moon for the first time in more than 50 years — may be experiencing a setback. According to a blog post from NASA, when engineers were powering up the spacecraft before pressurizing the crew module, they noticed an issue in the power and data unit.

The team is currently working to solve the problem, having recently installed temporary covers to protect nearby components, according to the NASA blog. However, if engineers need to entirely remove Orion from its service module to fix the unit before meticulously reconstructing the spacecraft, it could delay the capsule’s first flight aboard the Space Launch System, which is currently expected in November 2021.

With spacecraft, though, safety is paramount — and even a delay is worth weathering if it ensures a successful first flight for Orion.

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A chronicle of the first steps on the Moon, and what it took to get there.