On December 4, NASA will launch its first flight test (EFT-1) for the new Orion capsule from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The space-loving public have the chance to send their name up with the flight on a microchip that will be onboard the mission.
You can send your name, or that of a loved one, by visiting http://mars.nasa.gov/participate/send-your-name/orion-first-flight/ and filling out a few pieces of information. Voilà! You are heading to space (or at least your name is).
In addition to being a taxi for your name, the uncrewed EFT-1 will be heading to 3,600 miles above the Earth to test a number of key functions including:
• The Launch Abort System (LAS) – Propels the Orion Crew Module to safety in an emergency during launch or ascent
• The Orion Crew Module (CM) – Houses and transports NASA’s astronauts during spaceflight missions
• The Service Module (SM) – Contains Orion’s propulsion, power and life support systems
• The Spacecraft Adaptor and Fairings – Connects Orion to the launch vehicle
• The Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle to Stage Adaptor (MSA) – Connects the entire vehicle structure to the kick stage of the rocket
You can follow all the updates on Orion’s progress toward EFT-1 (and the subsequent missions to exploration!) at http://blogs.nasa.gov/orion/