Orion Capsule to Fly on Delta IV in 2013?

Lockheed Martin Corp.’s development of a new astronaut capsule for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, seemingly sidetracked by White House opposition barely a few months ago, now appears to be gaining traction with a proposed unmanned test flight [of Orion]as early as 2013, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Joanne Maguire, overall head of the company’s space programs, said in an interview that the Orion capsule is slated to blast off on top of a heavy-lift version of the U.S. military’s Delta IV rocket. The flight, perhaps climbing to around 5,000 miles above the earth, is intended to test the capsule’s emergency launch-abort system, as well other systems, and Orion’s protection against damage from micro-meteorites.

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