Delta IV Heavy Rocket Put Together at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida

Delta IV Heavy Rocket Put Together at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florid

For the first time, the massive Delta IV Heavy rocket has been put together at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida ahead of a first test flight of the Orion capsule in December.

It will blast the experimental capsule into orbit; the rockets are then expected to be replaced by NASA's even bigger Space Launch system.

The three primary core elements of the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV Heavy rocket have now assembled, forming the first stage of the launch vehicle. This will send Orion far from Earth to allow NASA to examine the spacecraft's work in space.

The three Delta IV Common Booster Cores were assembled in ULA's Horizontal Integration Facility (HIF), at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The HIF building is situated at Space Launch Complex 37 where the mission will take off.

"The day-to-day processing is performed by ULA. NASA's role is to keep a watchful eye on everything and be there to help if any issues come up", said Merri Anne Stowe of NASA's Fleet Systems Integration Branch of the Launch Services Program (LSP).

According Stowe, at the time of major testing experts from NASA's Launch Services Program observe the work on consoles in Hanger AE at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

The facility will allow engineers check voice, data, telemetry and video systems that support expendable launch vehicle missions. The upcoming flight test will make use of the Delta IV Heavy to launch the Orion and send it 3,600 miles in altitude beyond the Earth's surface.

During the two-orbit, four-hour mission, engineers will examine the systems serious to crew safety, the launch abort system, the heat shield and the parachute system. Design decisions will be influenced by the data collected during the mission.

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