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NASA Space Science

NASA's Orion Moon Craft Unveiled 179

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the bang-zoom-to-the-moon dept.
Velcroman1 writes "Lockheed Martin on Tuesday unveiled the first Orion spacecraft, a part of what NASA had planned as the sprawlingly ambitious Constellation project that would offer a replacement for the space shuttle — and a means to ferry humans into outer space and back to the moon. Orion and the companion Ares heavy-lift rocket were part of Constellation, a program cancelled under President Barack Obama's 2011 budget proposal."
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NASA's Orion Moon Craft Unveiled

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  • Choice quotes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by srussia (884021) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @01:10PM (#35576370)
    "The spacecraft is an incredibly robust, technically advanced vehicle capable of safely transporting humans to asteroids, Lagrange Points and other deep space destinations that will put us on an affordable and sustainable path to Mars.”

    Many of Orion's components can be re-used in subsequent flights, including some electronic systems, Bray said. The spaceship itself won't be reused because of the tremendous forces it endures on liftoff and re-entry, he said.

    Rep. Ed Perlmutter and Sen. Michael Bennet, Colorado Democrats who pressed Obama to salvage the Orion project, said they were confident the spacecraft will fly, but neither discussed specifics in brief remarks at the dedication ceremony for the test building.

    I think there's a type somewhere... seems more like the Onion Moon Craft.
  • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @01:31PM (#35576726)

    Not more real, but certainly more exciting. The fact that a 50 year old concept is more exciting than a new space vehicle says a lot about the failures of the space program. If funding had continued just a few years longer we might have seen simple thermal nuclear rockets like NERVA fly. Even the simplest nuclear rockets would have been almost an order of magnitude more effective than chemical rockets, and the preliminary tests were 100% successful. The fact that no one has even broached the subject since says a lot about the public's fears of anything nuclear.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @02:44PM (#35578014)

    1. Orion would NEVER be used to get into orbit. Setting off nuclear weapons in the atmosphere is big no no.

    2. The US does not have a big enough stock of nuclear weapons to use Orion even in space. It would need to make more, and very cheaply.

    As I said... it's just not going to work.

  • by oni (41625) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @03:09PM (#35578380) Homepage

    I disagree. NASA hasn't bungled anything. The reason we don't have a replacement is that it takes more than 8 years and every president cancels the last guy's program. We wouldn't have made it to the moon if JFK hadn't been a hugely popular martyr. And even then, as soon as we set foot on the moon, they canceled Apollo. And every president since has canceled the last guy's program - except Carter. Carter, being a one-term president tried but failed to cancel the shuttle and that's the only reason we ever had it.

    So Regan had the shuttle. Bush #1 supported a replacement but Clinton canceled it. Clinton supported a replacement (venturestar) but Bush #2 canceled it. Bush #2 supported a replacement (constellation) but Obama canceled it.

    I don't see how any of this is NASA's fault.

  • by ZonkerWilliam (953437) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @03:29PM (#35578678) Journal
    While I agree with you, imagine if one nuclear powered rocket failed? If there had been nuclear derived shuttle and either Columbia or Challenger accident occurred? We are after all talking a minimum of 5GW reactors. It would have set back the space program years if not canceled it out right. Out of either type, chemical or nuclear chemical is still safer, thats why we still have them.

    I do see more hope for a Scram-Jet type launcher, or electromagnetic launcher. Both are much better than either chemical or nuclear. Once we are in the vacuum of space there is plasma and engines much like VASIMER, or even nuclear thermal.

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