NASA’s Orion spacecraft–the crew module and European-built service module—is being lifted into a thermal cage and readied for its move on Tuesday into the vacuum chamber at NASA’s Plum Brook Station for testing. Testing begins with a 60-day thermal test, where the spacecraft will be subjected to temperatures ranging from -250 to 300-degrees Fahrenheit to ensure it can withstand the harsh environment of space during Artemis missions. These extreme temperatures simulate flying in-and-out of sunlight and shadow in space using Heat Flux, a specially-designed system that heats specific parts of the spacecraft at any given time. Orion will also be surrounded on all sides by a set of large panels, called a cryogenic-shroud, that will provide the cold background temperatures of space.

Image credit: NASA / Marvin Smith, Alcyon Technical Services