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NASA Space

Orion Spacecraft On the Path To Future Flight 135

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the galaxy-is-on-orion's-belt dept.
gilgsn writes "Preparations for Orion's first mission in 2013 are well under way as a Lockheed Martin-led crew begins lean assembly pathfinding operations for the spacecraft. The crew is conducting simulated manufacturing and assembly operations with a full-scale Orion mockup to verify the tools, processes and spacecraft integration procedures work as expected."
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Orion Spacecraft On the Path To Future Flight

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  • by DeWinterZero (1757754) on Tuesday September 21, 2010 @05:15PM (#33656302)
    The word Spacecraft & Orion instant brings to mind Project Orion. For a brief moment I thought NASA had gone for something cool & insane. https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Project_Orion_(nuclear_propulsion) [wikimedia.org]
  • by Sonny Yatsen (603655) * on Tuesday September 21, 2010 @05:18PM (#33656326) Journal

    Constellation was defunded (although Congress may block this), but Obama singled out Orion to be repurposed an escape module for the ISS.

  • by Unkyjar (1148699) on Tuesday September 21, 2010 @05:18PM (#33656336)
    I found another one: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/orion-spacecraft-on-the-path-to-future-flight-2010-09-21?reflink=MW_news_stmp [marketwatch.com] It appears that they've brought all the manufacturing and testing facilities to Kennedy Space Center, which makes cost saving sense to me. I guess Orion is still going forward despite reports to the contrary.
  • by rijrunner (263757) on Tuesday September 21, 2010 @05:43PM (#33656534)

    In theory, it could be launched on another platform. Right now, there is a lot of development in capsules and the like from various companies. Boeing has its capsule under development. There are a few others in various levels of development.

        Ares is mostly toast now. It will rise or fall under a political fight, but honestly, whether Constellation flies, or not, the Orion capsule is no longer is the only game in town. The problem with a lot of this positioning of such-and-such program as THE next step rather ignores the simple fact that we are no longer in a single path of development. Its no accident that this article was released on PRWire a day after a flurry of articles about Boeing being ready in 2014 with an article claiming that Orion will be ready in 2013.

       

  • by genican1 (1150855) on Tuesday September 21, 2010 @05:48PM (#33656572)
    No, it's the Orion spacecraft [wikipedia.org] they are referring to, not Project Orion [wikipedia.org]
  • Re:Bad name? (Score:3, Informative)

    by BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) on Tuesday September 21, 2010 @05:49PM (#33656584) Homepage Journal
    They reused the name. Specifically, Lockheed-Martin, the prime contractor on this system, chose to name their system Orion, while NASA had previously named on of its own projects Orion. So really, there's the Lockheed Orion and the NASA Orion. The Orion referred to in the article is here [wikipedia.org].
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 21, 2010 @06:30PM (#33656936)

    So in other words, you think the entire human race can only do one thing at a time... Only biology, not both biology and space exploration? And guess what? It's not a perfect vacuum, especially not LEO; and there's plenty of solar system that can't be explored by orbiter or even properly explored by rover.

  • by Waste55 (1003084) on Tuesday September 21, 2010 @06:52PM (#33657192)
    Since the summary link is dead.

    Includes video: http://www.lockheedmartin.com/news/press_releases/2010/0921_ss_orion.html [lockheedmartin.com]
  • by camperdave (969942) on Tuesday September 21, 2010 @10:53PM (#33658766) Journal
    Ares required the development of new engines, new tanking, new solid boosters, new everything. Development costs are huge, especially engine development. With the "weird mix of shuttle hardware" you've got fully developed and tested engines, fully developed and tested solid boosters. All you need to do is develop the thrust structure (fairly simple) and stiffen the tank (which is currently thinned down to cut down on weight, so really it is just skipping this step).
  • by Teancum (67324) <robert_horning@n ... minus physicist> on Tuesday September 21, 2010 @11:17PM (#33658878) Homepage Journal

    In the meantime, the Dragon capsule being designed by SpaceX is making it first real flight next month. Heck, it is already at the cape ready for launch, and all they are doing now is a waiting game to get a launch slot to open... and some last minute tests to take care of some engineering questions they have about the rocket. This is both a test for the Falcon 9 (its second flight) and the capsule, but in this case they are doing some in-orbit testing of the avionics, the Draco thrusters, and the heat shield for re-entry purposes. They are also testing recovery procedures in what is for now an unmanned vehicle.

    I'd have to agree that the timing of this is a little suspect, and the rocket that the Orion is supposedly going to be flying on has yet to even be approved for funding in the first place. The Obama administration may be eying a variant of DIRECT right now, but that isn't really ready for prime time. Boeing, on the other hand, is going to be flying their CST-100 on a Delta IV. That is a proven rocket system with over a dozen flights to certify its reliability and to work out the bugs in terms of getting things into orbit.

    The question for what the Orion is going to be flying on in order to make this test is a very real question that ought to be asked. Perhaps a heavy launch variant of the Delta IV, Atlas V, or the Falcon 9 might be able to get it up into space, but there was some explicit engineering done on the Orion vehicle to make sure it couldn't fly on the EELVs. Yes, this was by design and it was done to make sure it had to fly on the Ares I rocket. How Lock-Mart is going to refit this to fly on something else is going to be real interesting. I thought they were well past the raw specification stage and were making mock-ups and building actual hardware.

  • by Teancum (67324) <robert_horning@n ... minus physicist> on Tuesday September 21, 2010 @11:30PM (#33658928) Homepage Journal

    There are a lot of people (mostly Baby Boomers who haven't kept track) that think NASA is still receiving about 5%-10% of the federal budget. NASA used to be listed on IRS publications like the 1040 instruction booklet for where tax dollars are being spent. It became such a minor budget item that it was dropped altogether and lumped under "miscellaneous appropriations".

    It should also be noteworthy that NASA isn't even the largest space agency in the U.S. Federal government at the moment, as that honor goes to the National Reconnaissance Office. Other agencies such as NOAA and even the Department of Agriculture (mainly with the Forest Service) are even involved with spaceflight.

  • by camperdave (969942) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @12:11AM (#33659152) Journal
    The Delta IV isn't man rated. Neither is the Atlas-V. NASA is not going to be sending astronauts up on either of them for quite some time. Dragon/Falcon is man rated, but it is quite a bit smaller than an Orion capsule, or even the CST-100
  • by Martin Blank (154261) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @04:37AM (#33659960) Journal

    I look around at Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Saab, Aston-Martin, and a host of other manufacturers, and I see things that look a lot like the cars and trucks from back then in their basic layout: two people in front, a driver to one side or the other, steering wheel, brake and accelerator pedals...

    Even the smaller European models carry the same general form as the vehicles from 50-60 years ago. The format works, and different sizes have come about to handle different needs.

    So no, you didn't fix anything. You just showed yourself to be wrong, and probably heavily biased against most things from the US.

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