Exploration Flight Test 1
Rendering of Orion capsule and Delta IV upper-stage during EFT-1
Mission type Uncrewed test flight
Operator NASA
COSPAR ID 2014-077A
SATCAT № 40329
Mission duration 4 hours, 24 minutes
Orbits completed 2
Start of mission
Launch date December 5, 2014, 12:05 (2014-12-05T12:05Z) UTC (07:05 EST)[1][2]
Rocket Delta IV Heavy
Launch site Cape Canaveral SLC-37B
Contractor United Launch Alliance
End of mission
Landing date Did not recognize date. Try slightly modifying the date in the first parameter. UTC
Landing site Pacific Ocean,
600 miles (965 km) SW of San Diego
Orbital parameters
Reference system Geocentric
Apogee 3,604 miles (5,800 km)

Beyond Low Earth Orbit Program

Exploration Flight Test 1 or EFT-1 (previously known as Orion Flight Test 1 or OFT-1) was the first test flight of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle. The craft, without a crew, was launched on December 5, 2014, at 12:05 UTC (7:05 am EST), atop a Delta IV Heavy rocket from Space Launch Complex 37B at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

The mission was a four-hour, two-orbit test of the Orion crew module featuring a high apogee on the second orbit and concluding with a high-energy reentry at around 20,000 miles per hour (32,000 km/h; 8,900 m/s).[3] This mission design corresponds to the Apollo 4 mission of 1967, which validated the Apollo flight control system and heat shield at re-entry conditions planned for the return from lunar missions.

NASA heavily promoted the mission, collaborating with Sesame Street and its characters to educate children about the flight test and the Orion spacecraft.[4]


The flight was intended to test various Orion systems, including separation events, avionics, heat shielding, parachutes, and recovery operations prior to its debut launch aboard the Space Launch System, currently scheduled for no later than November 2018.[5][6]

Vehicle assembly

EFT-1 Orion was built by Lockheed Martin.[7] On June 22, 2012, the final welds of the EFT-1 Orion were completed at the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, Louisiana.[7] It was then transported to Kennedy Space Center's Operations and Checkout Building, where the remainder of the spacecraft was completed.[8] The Delta IV rocket was put in a vertical position on October 1, 2014, and Orion was mated with the vehicle on November 11.[9][10][11]


Mission diagram
Launch of EFT-1 on December 5, 2014

The four and a half hour flight took the Orion spacecraft on two orbits of Earth. Peak altitude was approximately 3,600 miles (5,800 km). The high altitude allowed the spacecraft to reach reentry speeds of up to 20,000 mph (32,000 km/h; 8,900 m/s), which exposed the heat shield to temperatures up to around 4,000 °F (2,200 °C),[3][6] or 64% of the energy dissipated upon reentry from a moon mission.

During the flight, the crew module, a structural representation of the service module, a partial launch abort system containing only the jettison motor, and Orion-to-stage adapter would be evaluated.[6] The spacecraft remained attached to the Delta IV's upper stage until reentry began and relied on internal batteries for power rather than photovoltaic arrays, which were not contained in the structural representation.[12] Data gathered from the test flight will be analyzed by the Critical Design Review (CDR) in April 2015.[13]
Time Event
L-6:00:00 Orion powered on, mobile service tower retracts. Fueling of Delta IV Heavy begins
0:00:00 Launch window opens (7:05 a.m. EST, 12:05 UTC). EFT-1 launches.
0:01:23 Max Q
0:01:23 Reach Mach 1
0:03:56 Booster separation
0:05:30 First Stage MECO (Main Engine Cut Off)
0:05:33 First Stage separation
0:05:49 Second Stage ignition #1
0:06:15 Structural representation of service module fairing jettison
0:06:20 Launch Abort System jettison
0:17:39 SECO #1 (Second Engine Cut Off), Orion begins first orbit
1:55:26 Orion completes first orbit, Second stage ignition #2
2:00:09 SECO #2 (Second Engine Cut Off)
2:05:00 Enter first high radiation period
2:20:00 Leave first high radiation period
2:40:00 Reaction Control System (RCS) activation
3:05:00 Reach peak altitude (3,600 miles/5,800 kilometers)
3:23:41 Orion separates from service module and second stage, second stage performs disposal burn
3:57:00 Orion positions for reentry
4:13:41 Entry interface
4:20:22 Forward bay cover jettisons, parachute deployment begins (two drogues, three mains)
4:24:46 Splashdown

After splashdown in the Pacific Ocean, crews recovered the EFT-1 Orion crew vehicle and will outfit the capsule for an ascent abort test in 2017.[15]

Launch attempts

Attempt Planned Result Turnaround Reason Decision point Weather go (%) Notes
1 4 Dec 2014, 7:05:00 am Hold --- Fouled Range A boat entered the launch range.
2 4 Dec 2014, 7:17:00 am Hold 0 days, 0 hours, 12 minutes Weather Gust wind excess speed limit. (21 knots)
3 4 Dec 2014, 7:55:00 am Hold 0 days, 0 hours, 38 minutes Weather Gust wind excess speed limit. (21 knots)
4 4 Dec 2014, 8:26:00 am Hold 0 days, 0 hours, 31 minutes Technical (T-00:03:09) A fuel fill and drain valve did not close.
5 4 Dec 2014, 9:44:00 am Scrubbed 0 days, 1 hour, 18 minutes Technical 24-hour recycle.
6 5 Dec 2014, 7:05:00 am Success 0 days, 21 hours, 21 minutes



  1. ^ Rhian, Jason (14 March 2014). "NASA's EFT-1 Mission Slips to December".  
  2. ^ Siceloff, Steven (5 December 2014). "LIFTOFF! Orion Begins New Era in Space Exploration!". Orion. NASA. Retrieved 7 December 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Bergin, Chris (14 November 2011). "EFT-1 Orion Receives Hatch Door—Denver Orion Ready for Modal Testing". NASASpaceflight.com. Retrieved 16 November 2011. 
  4. ^ NASA (24 November 2014). "Sesame Street Characters 'On Board' as NASA Counts Down to Orion's Test Flight". NASA.gov. Retrieved 6 December 2014. 
  5. ^ Chris Bergin (25 October 2011). "SLS Flexibility: Exploration roadmap focus taking center stage". NASASpaceflight.com. Retrieved 16 November 2011. 
  6. ^ a b c "Orion First Flight Test - NASA Facts" (PDF).  
  7. ^ a b Clark, Stephen (26 June 2012). "Space-bound Orion capsule to arrive in Florida next week". SpaceFlightNow. Retrieved 28 June 2012. 
  8. ^ "NASA Unveils Orion During Ceremony". NASA. 2 July 2012. Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  9. ^ "NASA’s Orion Spacecraft, Rocket Move Closer to First Flight" NASA. Retrieved: 5 October 2014.
  10. ^ "Orion Spacecraft Complete" NASA. Retrieved: 30 October 2014.
  11. ^ "Orion Arrives at Launch Pad" NASA. Retrieved: 12 November 2014.
  12. ^ "OFT-1: NASA gearing up for Orion's 2013 debut via Delta IV Heavy". 8 August 2011. Archived from the original on 12 March 2013. Retrieved 16 November 2011. 
  13. ^ "EFT-1 September, 2014 launch date "paced" by the Delta IV-H". nasaspaceflight.com. 
  14. ^ http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/663703main_flighttest1_fs_051812.pdf
  15. ^ Stephen Clark (23 November 2011). "Cracks discovered in Orion capsule's pressure shell". Spaceflightnow.com. Retrieved 23 November 2011. 

External links

  • Orion MPCV homepage (NASA)
  • EFT-1 Fact sheet (NASA)
  • EFT-1 Press kit (NASA)
  • Animation of the EFT-1 mission (NASA)
  • Video of the launch of EFT-1 - 5 December 2014 (NASA)
  • Video of the landing of the EFT-1 Orion - 5 December 2014 (NASA/U.S. Navy)
  • Orion GTA-1 fabrication and configuration, Delta 4 Heavy images