If you’ve ever even wondered about wandering off into Deep Space, you might wanna read this piece first. NASA’s Orion is getting ready to take humans into space for exploration. It is coming to bring the Moon Travel back. According to NASA, after launch from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Orion will travel beyond the Moon to a distance more than 1,000 times farther than where the International Space Station flies in low-Earth orbit, and farther than any spacecraft built for humans has ever ventured. For the spacecraft to achieve this feat, it obviously has to be robust and “out-there

Deep space exploration
NASA’s Orion

Living and Breathing Systems

If there is one thing that humans can’t survive without, it’s their smartphone. And, breathing. Of course, breathing. If humans are going to travel into deep space, it is important that the living and breathing systems are extremely reliable, and compact. A high-tech system is already being tested for removal of carbon dioxide (CO2) and humidity from inside Orion. Removal of CO2 and humidity is important to ensure air remains safe for the crew breathing. Great, now we can cause Universal Warming too!

The reason why these systems need to be compact is, travelers are going to be on a mission that might go on for days or weeks together on end. It is important to carry sufficient amount of food and water for survival. Since this is deep space exploration and not a stroll down the ISS, we can’t make trips to the kitchen back home for food that often. That often? Nay, at all!

Propulsion

The farther you venture into the deep space, better the propulsion system of your spaceship needs to be. Orion space craft has a propulsion system capable enough to make a journey to the moon and back. The service module has 33 engines of various sizes. The major engine will help Orion with the various maneuvers it needs to do throughout the mission. This includes inserting itself into Moon’s orbit and firing powerfully enough to get thrown out of it, to enter Earth. The other 32 engines will help with steering and control.

Heat Shields

The farther a spacecraft travels in space, the more heat it will generate as it returns to Earth. This means that the spaceship needs to be able to hold off the heat. Orion will travel at a speed 30 times higher than that of sound and it will have to endure heat half as hot as the sun itself. While coming back to Earth, it will travel at a speed of 25000mph. With this speed, you can fly across the states in 6 minutes.

Its advanced heat shield, made with a material called AVCOAT, is designed to wear away as it heats up. It can withstand a staggering 5000 degrees Fahrenheit during reentry. All of this will be happening while the crew will enjoy a comfy 77 degrees Fahrenheit.

Protection from Radiation in Deep Space

Great amounts radiation from charged particles and solar storms that can cause disruptions to critical computers, avionics and other equipment need to be endured by the spacecraft.  Crew, if exposed to radiation, will face extreme risks of cancer in long term. To avoid this, Orion comes with a storm shelter below the main deck of the crew module. One investigation called AstroRad, will fly on Exploration Mission-1 and test an experimental vest that has the potential to help shield vital organs and decrease exposure from solar particle events. Also, the computers have been specially designed to operate even in harsh conditions.

Communication and Navigation

Truth be told, it gets lonely in deep space. Orion’s comms will shift from NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellites (TDRS) system used by the International Space Station, and communicate through the Deep Space Network.

The backup navigation system, a new technology called optical navigation, uses a camera to take pictures of the Earth, Moon and stars and autonomously triangulate Orion’s position from the photos. So this means, Orion can literally see itself out of Deep Space whenever it wants.

orion deep space exploration
Anatomy of Orion

Excited yet? You should be.

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