Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Lockheed: Orion Craft Ready For 2013 Flight

Check out this strong response from Lockheed Martin, the company developing the Orion spacecraft:

Lockheed Martin Responds To The FY2011 NASA Budget Proposal To Cancel Orion

Bethesda, MD. -- Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) released the following statement regarding the FY2011 budget request to cancel the Orion Project as part of NASA’s Constellation Program:

We are keenly disappointed in the Administration's budget proposal for NASA that would cancel Project Orion as part of an elimination of NASA's Constellation Program. Orion's maturity is evident in its readiness for a first test flight in a matter of weeks. In fact, Orion can be ready for crewed flights to low Earth orbit and other exploration missions as early as 2013, thus narrowing the gap in U.S. human space flight capability when the shuttle is retired later this year.

Significant investment has already been made by the nation and private industry in Orion, which is human rated to provide a level of safety unmatched by any previous or currently proposed crewed vehicles. Nearly 4,000 people at more than 500 commercial companies and hundreds of small business suppliers across the country have worked diligently on the Orion project to support the nation's human space flight efforts. New facilities have been built and others upgraded. Innovative technologies such as a launch abort system, autonomous rendezvous and docking, closed-loop life support systems, state of the art solar power and avionics systems have been incorporated. And the next-generation of engineers, scientists, teachers and students, so critical to America's future, has been inspired. Cancellation of Orion would sacrifice these capabilities and accomplishments.

The President's budget proposal will, of course, be reviewed by Congress and ultimately will require Congressional approval. As the budget process moves forward, Lockheed Martin is committed to working with Congress, the Administration and NASA to ensure a safe, viable and robust space exploration program that does not cede U.S. leadership in space.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 140,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation reported 2009 sales of $45.2 billion.

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

And with the shuttle dervived DirectLaunch vehicle,(option 5D) the Orion is used and the launch meets the described timeframe.
http://www.launchcomplexmodels.com/Direct/media/flash/ag_options/index.html
Only 25% of work force is affected!

Anonymous said...

I agree with everithing on this posting, and i hope thet congress will
not go along with this ill advised path from ssthis administration

Anonymous said...

writing from montreal, cancelation of Ares 1 may not be a bad thin, but
axing orion is stupid. Just put it on top of Ares 5 and make that rocket
a little bit more powerful.

Its as simple as that. that way, you have the best of both worlds.
commercial for low hearth orbit while the government concentrates ist
money on deep space.

Marv said...

Nice to see somebody say things are not all doom and gloom with the constelation project!! To bd it's probably to late to sve it unless congress wakes up and supports NASA. Sure sounds like the administrator has caved to the administration, with leadrship like that what can we look forward to.

Anonymous said...

Bolden the Yes man. Just what Nasa does'nt need!!!

Anonymous said...

The Party is over Folks !!! It's pretty hard to bring a Dead Dog back to life !!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks to all the fools at KSC who voted for Obama...now we can all be unemployed together. signed.... a KSC worker who didnt vote for him.

Anonymous said...

Wow amazing how the contractors who were looking at 2017 all of a sudden shave off four years when they figure out their cash may dry up!!

Anonymous said...

Funny quote in the article:

"Innovative technologies such as a launch abort system, autonomous rendezvous and docking, closed-loop life support systems, state of the art solar power and avionics systems have been incorporated"

Let me see - abort system like Mercury's 45 years ago, rendezvous system has been used by the Russians for 10+ years, life support 30+ years, solar power 30+ years, avioinics - went to the moon on a slide ruler. This quote tells it all - nothing new, same old stuff, every 90 min we go around the earth.

Anonymous said...

I did not vote for him either, however, contrary to what people may believe, he never said he was going to fund Ares and Constellation. He said he would fund manned missions to space. Which is what he is proposing, just not in the way NASA wanted it.

Anonymous said...

Obama looked us in the eye and said.. WE ARE GOING BACK TO THE MOON. He lied to me and my family.
He said we are going to the moon.... HE LIED. A lot of people are going to loose everything, becouse of him. Think of the childred how they had the dream of going to the moon and to space he crushed all that.

Anonymous said...

I confess I voted for this guy...and I'm a KSC worker. I guess I owe everyone a huge apology as I bought into the Koolaide that this chap would help NASA and the workers in Brevard County.

I was wrong....and I feel sick about it.

Anonymous said...

Lockheed has winning government contracts down. They under bid every one by substantial amounts, knowing the government goes for the lowest bidder, then they ask for additional money when they win the contract. Then they milk the government for years knowing it would be insane for the government to scrap the current program and hire a new contractor to get the job done right. Lockheed could have taken the US out of the leadership role in space flight with their shenanigans.

davrin said...

I am pretty sure that Orion continue its development if the above article is true. If Lockheed, as they claim, can ready a production version of Orion in the next couple of years, I am pretty sure that the Delta Heavy (with a new launch-abort detection system) can safely launch Orion to LEO

Antares said...

Too bad Ares won't be ready by then. Mr Karas can now look to his old friends down the canyon. Go Atlas! Go Centaur!

Anonymous said...

This is a travesty and a joke. This administration is a joke, flirting with bringing the nation to new lows. The administration speaks strongly of exports and increasing the nations GDP through exports. Other than greed, I beg to ask just what will we export. We already rely on Asia for more than half of our household goods. Now we'll outsource spaceflight. I commend the administration for their choice on the rail system in Florida. Surely anyone in they're right mind can see the need to abandon space exploration to build means for drunks from Orlando, to explore Ybor and Gasparilla. I'm glad the administration has handled the constellation just as they have everything else. There's nothing more exciting than a shot in the dark and hopefully blind luck. An admin full of empty promises and "yes men" (yes you Charlie). I never thought it possible, but can we please have Bush back?

Anonymous said...

How can we walk away from the Leadership role in manned space flight and turn to relying on unstable Nations? this is not the "change" I voted for.

Anonymous said...

A tad optimistic, considering I don't recall any production spec Orion craft coming off the assembly line yet, but I do agree that Orion is more mature a system and can be ready quicker then any alternatives at this point (say four years compared to five for SpaceX Dragon). Cutting Constellation in its entirety with no other system as far along in development is beyond stupid. Maybe going to the Moon isn't the answer, but killing the architecture being developed for it isn't one either.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:03 PM - Here's what he said: "We cannot cede our leadership in space. That’s why I will help close the gap and ensure that our space program doesn’t suffer when the Shuttle goes out of service by working with Senator Bill Nelson to add at least one additional Space Shuttle flight beyond 2010; by supporting continued funding for NASA; by speeding the development of the Shuttle’s successor; and by making sure that all those who work in the space industry in Florida do not lose their jobs when the Shuttle is retired – because we cannot afford to lose their expertise. " Sure, he didn't say he would continue to fund Constellation, but I do not believe he is doing anything to speed up a successor NOR making sure all those who working the space industry in Florida do not lose their jobs when the shuttle is retired....

Anonymous said...

Another brilliant result of hard working thinkers of the IAMAW.
You deserve your reward.

Isn't it amazing. The first aerospace workers union started in 1964. Within a few months NASA started hiring outside contractors instead of doing the work themselves and the cost of manned spaceflight began ballooning out of control. Within a little less than 3 years we started loosing crews....A coincidence? I think not.

Anonymous said...

It's a boondoggle.

Anonymous said...

There are 2 ways to get off this planet.
1. Take public funding out of the equation. Let companies INVEST in manned exploration with the idea that they can PROFIT from whatever resources they find, be it on the Moon, Mars or the ring of Uranus.

-or-

2. Take the profit out of spaceflight. How many billions have Lockheed Martin and United Space Alliance made in the last 30 years while safety has faltered. Time to cut off the shareholders on wall street and make all of us shareholders in space exploration. NASA should hire the best and brightest people, but only the ones they NEED to get the job done, like it was in the beginning back in the 50's and 60's. NASA should make their own hardware. The only people profiting from the space program should be the ones using their own hands to work on it.

Anonymous said...

This country already is at a "new low" as someone mentioned. The US has the lowest life expectancy of the industrialized world. And we have the highest infant mortality rate as well. It was a mistake to dump money into it when we are borrowing money to pay for rebuilding Iraq and the war in Afghanistan.

Anonymous said...

Would Florida be willing to add a state income tax to pay for it?

Anonymous said...

The job losses will happen because Bush and Griffin canceled the Shuttle. This was a huge mistake; the shuttle is flying amazingly well; the most recent flight set a record for the fewest problems. Damage to the tiles is insignificant, and improvements in many systems have made the shuttle safer than it has ever been. It carries nearly twice the crew of orion, carries 22,000 lbs of cargo instead of a few hundred, and flies five or six times a year instead of twice. There is no objective evidence whatsoever to support the widespread assertion that all three shuttles, despite their different ages, can fly safely for eight more months but will then simultaneously "wear out" and become deathtraps.

Constellation costs more to fly than Shuttle and would produce no practical value at all. It is an obvious waste of your tax dollars.

Anonymous said...

Bush and Griffin killed the Shuttle and lost 7000 people their jobs. Obama was perfectly willing to continue the Shuttle program but the NASA hierarchy insisted on killing it,

Ifd Florida Today has numerical data that proves the Shuttle is unsafe, MAKE IT PUBLIC because we MUST cancel the remaining shuttle flights. If not, then concede that the Shuttle is safe.

Anonymous said...

iF i REMEMBER RIGHT BUSH WAS THE ONE TO END THIS PROGRAM, SO THE pRESIDENT IS ONLY HELPING HIM FULL FILL HIS WISHES, BUY THE WAY THE gop is on him for spending too much money, so Florida being a GOP state they should be happy he did this.

Anonymous said...

Ares was a joke to start with. Forcing NASA to toss the orbiters, the most capable and reliable spacecraft we have ever flown and keep the 2 parts of the shuttle system that have failed with deadly results.

I realize public schools do a bad job educating the public on science. So here's a refresher:

On January 28th 1986 the shuttle Challenger disintegrated during ascent when the External Tank imploded due to a structural failure caused by a plume of flame eating a hole in the lower LH2 portion of the ET. the plume was coming from a cracked BOOSTER O-ring. READ: BOOSTER AND TANK FAILURE.

On Feb. 1st 2003 Columbia broke apart during re-entry. The root cause of the orbiter's destruction was a TANK FAILURE During launch on January 16. Foam Fell off the TANK 82 seconds after launch. The investigation found a documentation that some employees of the contractor who built the tank believed there was a defect in the tank early in construction that was not properly investigated because of costs.Again, a HARDWARE FAILURE of the EXTERNAL TANK.

Ares 1 and 5 are derived from these 2 parts of the shuttle system. Coincidence that these are the 2 parts that are the most profitable for ATK (boosters) and Lockheed Martin (ET).

It also may interest some of you to know that the last 2 notable unmanned mission failures (Mars Polar Lander and Mars Climate Observer) both traced to Quality Control failures at Lockheed, and $400 MILLION in damage when LM employees DROPPED the NOAA-N prime weather satellite during processing.

Good luck to SpaceX and their few, hard working and mostly non-union employees who on a fraction of the other's budget are on the doorstep of greatness.
But if their first launch has a problem, stop for a moment and think of the dozens of Atlas', Delta's and other rockets that are in very small pieces spread all over the Cape.

Anonymous said...

"Defense contractor Lockheed Martin Corp. said Tuesday it received a contract extension from NASA worth about $230 million over the next 20 months." Business Week Feb 2, 2010

Anonymous said...

I wonder were all these union workers work? Every engineer, tech and maintenance person I know at work (for the last 10 years, not as a tech, engineer or maintenance...just a peon)is NOT in a union. The only ones I know of were the logistics folks and the crane crews. Please, where are they? For the idiots that believe that somehow the commercial people will not have disasters that will cost billions and take lives, you are so naive it is staggering. Giving the number of flights we have had as so few fatalities (not to diminish the tragedy of them at all) it is pretty amazing considering how complex these systems are. Find an astronaut that believes for an instant that what they do is safe. Find one that would turn down the option to fly the next shuttle launch or be the first on Constellation (if they'd get the chance). Every time I see someone pointing out the accidents that have happen as if to say they wouldn't happen should some other place do the work I cannot help but laugh at the stupidity. It is an industry, and like ALL industries there will be accidents.

Anonymous said...

As a matter of fact the only number I could find on the net indicated 580 union workers at KSC. Does anyone else have any other statistics... I am genuinely interested since, for some reason, it's being kicked around as one of the reasons to switch to commercial development. Unless there is another number out there that leaves 7420 workers that are not in unions...doesn't mean anything in the end, but it seems people have the wrong impression of the workers out there.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:18pm - give it a rest. Obama made promises he did not keep. What will be will be.

Anonymous said...

Titusville, the next Flint Michigan. Maybe Michael More will make a movie "Obama and Me" about how Obama took away daddy and mommy's jobs along with the dreams of the nation's children.

Anonymous said...

The problem isn't with Obama, it's with NASA. The Ares lifting body was a wrong choice made too long ago. Ever since the concept doc was rolled out, lots of engineers were saying Jupiter Direct. Typical to NASA...Oh no...we know what were doing and were going to pursue Ares. This isn't the first mistake NASA has made of late.

Anonymous said...

"Orion's maturity is evident in its readiness for a first test flight in a matter of weeks. "

OK - where exactly is this flight ready vehicle? Why haven't we seen any photographs of it? If Lockheed wants to make a point about close they are to manned operations, why aren't they flashing their "flight ready" test vehicle around?

I am an Orion supporter, but issuing a false statement like this isn't going to help their cause.

LoneDog said...

Amazing what a cancellation announcement can do to speed things up. The Aries/Constellation program was taking far too long to get off the ground and the public were not seeing any tangible results. People like to see results, one launch in 10 years is far too long and a second launch within two years is still too long. There is no excitement in waiting years between launches.

Anonymous said...

I have seen Lockheed's flight test article with my own eyes. It is real and was supposed to have it's first flight test within a couple of months. We have worked hard and diligent to bring Orion to life...I hope in the end it finds its way through the red tape and bureaucracy.

Anonymous said...

@ the poster that implied United Space Alliance has been soaking the tax payers for 30 years... DUH, get your facts strait. 1. The company absorbed almost all of the sub-contractors, including their workforce - with minimal loss of employment as a result. 2. USA performed the work of all the absorbed contractors for MUCH less. 3. USA has come in under contract cost almost every year and earned a bonus for doing so, total cost to NASA of less than the contracted amount.

Anonymous said...

Wow,,,, so many misconceptions in the above posts. Space X has a powerpoint presentation of a capsule and have not begun to man rate the Falcon or capsule. Nor has any of the other "new face of human space flight" companies. Last time I counted Space X had four launches and one of them was successful...not bad a 25% chance of making to orbit and oh yes they have no launch abort system. Good luck with that. The size of the payload was about as big as small refridgerator as well. Atlas and Delta could do this in their sleep. These things don't happen overnight and they will have a long road ahead of them before NASA who will still be in an oversight and approval role to some degree will place a US Astronaut in that vehicle. The new direction will change with the next administration just like it has twice in the past 10 years (i.e. X-33 and now Constellation/Orion) at a cost of over 14 billion dollars of taxpayers money. The other Contractors have the experience (i.e. ULA) and ingenuity in the booster but still have to fast track the man rating capability. Now all they need is a capsule/launch abort system...hopefully someone will wake up and allow Orion to finish it's mission with less NASA oversight. Only makes since because the money is spent allow the design and test of this very capable system to be completed.

Anonymous said...

It's more than jobs at stake .Its about national pride and more importantly, keeping technology current with the rest of the world.not launching would be the start of a major national downward spiral.Congress needs to look at all the aspects of manned spaceflight and continue to support it.

Bill said...

The Congress gave AIG, the World's largest insurance company, $180,000,000,000 of your tax money, so that the millionaires could transfer their private losses to you. That is about 10 times the yearly NASA budget. Those crooks know where their priorities are.

Mike Greb said...

Actually, Spacex has five flights with the last two successful. They have their first flight Falcon 9 at the cape as we speak. The first of the COTS dragon capsules is getting close to being finished. All this has been developed on a fraction of the price that a NASA project would cost. Sure, they had been quite optimistic about the schedule and cost, but are a very impressive operation nevertheless.

As for the Shuttle SRB, the problem with the o-rings was fixed long ago, and the Foam shedding problem with the tank would be moot with the payload on top of the tank.

The original study that came up with the Constellation project looks to this layperson to have been designed to choose the shuttle derived vehicles from the start. When the original design of ares 1 and 5 started to fall apart, the reasoning for going with Shuttle Derived Vehicles started to look way less attractive. It was another NASA manned spacecraft project that was doomed to be many times more expensive and deliver much less than promised.

As far as I am concerned, this reboot of the American Human Spaceflight should have come a couple of years ago, but without a change in administration, it wasn't going to happen.

Marcel F. Williams said...

The Orion could be ready by 2013 and a directly shuttle derived HLV could be be tested as early as 2012. Bolden's Flexible Path scenario could be met by these two vehicles while also providing a back up in case for the emerging private manned space launch companies have any trouble.

This just makes too much sense! Congress needs to stand up and make this happen!

Marcel F. Williams

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