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Successful Deployment of Orion Solar Ray Leads to More Tests
03/11/2016

Recently, an international team of engineers successfully deployed an Orion solar array wing inside the Space Power Facility (SPF) at NASA Glenn’s Plum Brook Station in Sandusky, Ohio, according to PDDnet.com.

“The successful deployment was the first in a series of crucial tests being performed at SPF to verify the Orion service module can withstand the harsh conditions of launch and ascent into deep space,” reported PDDnet. “The test confirmed that the array unfurled properly and locked into place and that all of the mechanisms functioned as expected.”

PDDnet explained that “prior to deployment, the wing was held in a stowed position by four Kevlar straps. When an Airbus Netherlands test engineer issued the command for the wing to deploy, thermal knives cut the straps to release the array wing.” Airbus engineers then performed what they call a “glow test” to make sure the two thermal knives for each strap heated as they should and activated simultaneously after the wing deployed.

“Throughout spring and fall, engineers will use those facilities to mimic the shaking and noise the service module will experience during its ascent into space,” reported PDDnet, “They also will use pyrotechnics to simulate the shock the service module will experience during separation from the SLS [Space Launch System] rocket it will be atop. […] In early fall, they’ll conclude the campaign with another solar array wing deployment test.”

According to PDDnet, “the Orion spacecraft is being developed to send astronauts to deep space destinations, such as an asteroid placed in lunar orbit and on a journey to Mars.”

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