A NEW ERA in Space Exploration. . . . . And X-1R was there.

X-1R is proud to be a part of the programme. The dawn of a new era of space exploration is with us with the anticipated, if slightly...


X-1R is proud to be a part of the programme.

The dawn of a new era of space exploration is with us with the anticipated, if slightly delayed, launch of the new Orion yesterday. The launch that was originally scheduled for the previous day was delayed after high winds and bad weather coupled with some minor technical issues caused safety concerns.

"We'll go make sure we've got a happy rocket and as soon as we do that we're going to get back to the pad and send Orion off to a very, very successful test flight," said Dan Collins from the Delta's operating company, United Launch Alliance.

The Orion capsule which sat atop a Delta IV – Heavy Rocket, currently the biggest rocket available, is very reminiscent of the Apollo capsules used in the original moon exploration programmes but is designed to be a part of a programme to send astronauts to planets much more distant than previously achieved; this would include Mars.

The Delta rocket being transported to the launch site.
The Delta sent Orion twice around the world to almost an altitude of 6000 kilometres, after which it fell back to earth at a speed of 32,000 kph, a similar speed of a capsule returning from the Moon. The test gave engineers crucial information on the performance of the heat shields which was subjected to temperatures of about 2200°C and also information on the performance of the parachute system as it gently lowered the capsule onto the waters off Mexico’s Baja peninsula.


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Lockheed Martin is currently designing a powerful new rocket alongside the work with the Orion capsule and this should debut in 2017 or 2018; together they will form the core of a new era in space exploration designed to send humans far beyond anything achieved thus far.

The X-1R Corporation has been an integral part of the Lockheed Martin and Kennedy Space Centre team since 1996 when its range of products were developed for use in the Space Vehicle Crawler, which is the tracked vehicle used to transport the spacecraft from the assembly area to the launch area. As recognition for their pioneering efforts, the X-1R Corporation was inducted into the Space Technology Hall of Fame and still counts NASA amongst their list of customers almost 20 years later.
The crawler transporting the Discovery spacecraft to the launchpad

top image: kennedyspacecenter.com; bottom image: wikipedia.org

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