Orion Forward Bay Cover Test
The first test to ensure Orion will successfully jettison its Forward Bay Cover (FBC) was conducted by Lockheed Martin on Dec. 19. The FBC protects the top portion of the crew module during launch, orbital flight, and re-entry. When Orion reenters the Earth's atmosphere from deep space, the FBC will be jettisoned at an altitude of approximately 23,000 feet. This event is crucial to mission success and crew safety—a successful jettison is required for deployment of the main parachutes. This test will be followed by two more ground jettison tests, simulating different stress scenarios, and two air-drop tests which are meant to will simulate more flight-like aerodynamic conditions.