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NASA tests Orion spacecraft in Sandusky
Plum Brook Station is testing the spacecraft that is expected to one day take people to Mars
by WKSU's LAUREN BLUE


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Lauren Blue
 
Northeast Ohio is playing a major role in developing NASA’s first manned flight to Mars.
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Northeast Ohio is playing a major role in developing NASA’s Orion spacecraft for the first manned flight to Mars. A prototype of the spacecraft’s service module will be undergoing atmospheric and strength simulations at NASA Glenn Research Center’s testing facility in Sandusky.

Project manager Nicole Smith says local involvement is essential.

LISTEN: Smith on Orion's tests

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“You basically want to test your spacecraft through all these different very harsh environments and then power on all of your systems, make sure everything still works. Make sure your crew module holds air and can retain pressure, then you have qualified your spacecraft to fly people in it.”

Smith says the Plum Brook facility was chosen because it has the largest vacuum chamber in the world. The next unmanned Orion flight is scheduled for the fall of 2018.

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