Tuesday, May 24, 2011

NASA sticks with Orion capsule for deep-space travel.

WASHINGTON — NASA's capsule for deep-space travel will be based on the Orion vehicle that had been part of the canceled Constellation return-to-the-moon program, the agency's top official said Tuesday.

Administrator Charles Bolden said Lockheed Martin will continue to develop the capsule, now called the Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle.

"As we aggressively continue our work on a heavy-lift launch vehicle, we are moving forward with an existing contract to keep development of our new crew vehicle on track," Bolden said.

The capsule will have 316 cubic feet of habitable space to carry four astronauts on 21-day missions. It will be able to land in the Pacific Ocean off the California coast.

President Barack Obama abandoned the Constellation program in early 2009 after an independent study group found its goals underfunded and unrealistic.

Obama set a new goal: landing on an asteroid by 2025 and on Mars by 2035, using a new rocket and a new capsule.

Members of Congress were reluctant to give up on the Orion capsule, or on Constellation's Ares rocket, even although NASA officials said few changes would be needed for Orion to comply with the new policy.

Douglas Cooke, NASA's associate administrator for exploration, said Orion's government and industry team found ways to keep costs down through better management and innovation.

"This selection does not indicate a business-as-usual mentality for NASA programs," Cooke said.
-Bart Jansen.

1 comment:

Dr. Dan Woodard said...

It is not clear to me where the money for a manned flightt to the moon, Mars or an asteroid will come from. This would probably be somewhere int he range of $200B. Who is willingt o pay higher taxes? What practical benefits would it provide/ Surely it is more important to first reduce the cost of human spaceflight and prove people can do productive work in low earth orbit.