WASHINGTON, April 16, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A full-scale test version of the Orion spacecraft is one of several NASA-sponsored exhibits that will appear alongside space shuttle Discovery at the National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center near Washington Dulles International Airport in Chantilly, Va.
Discovery is scheduled to fly over the Washington area on Tuesday, April 17, and land at Dulles. A transfer ceremony of the shuttle to the National Air & Space Museum will take place on Thursday, April 19.
In addition to Orion, dozens of NASA-sponsored exhibits are on display at the Udvar-Hazy Center to celebrate the arrival of Discovery and highlight the agency's current and future exploration missions. The exhibits will showcase the International Space Station, a solar telescope, a planetary spacesuit, an inflatable Mars Science Laboratory rover and many hands-on educational activities.
The Orion spacecraft will be on free display at the Udvar-Hazy Center from April 19-22 as part of the events surrounding the arrival of shuttle Discovery. Engineers, officials and NASA spokespeople will be on-site and available to speak with media and the public.
The Orion test vehicle was used in the Pad Abort-1 Test in 2010, which saw the successful flight of Orion's launch abort system. This escape capability will protect future crews in the event of an emergency during launch.
NASA is constructing the first space-bound Orion capsule, which will launch on Exploration Flight Test-1, an uncrewed launch planned for 2014. This test will see Orion travel farther into space than any human spacecraft has gone in more than 40 years. After its construction at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, the spacecraft will be shipped to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida for final assembly.
Following its display at the Udvar-Hazy Center, the Orion capsule will appear at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington for the U.S. Science and Engineering Festival from April 27-29.