By Larry Dignan
Posting in Design
NASA picked Lockheed Martin to develop a new spacecraft to ferry humans into deep space.
NASA said Tuesday that it picked Lockheed Martin to develop a new spacecraft to ferry humans into deep space.
Charles Bolden, NASA administrator, said that the designs planned for the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle will be used to develop its Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV).
Bolden said that NASA is on "a clear path" to hand off transportation to the International Space Station to the private sector and focus on deep space exploration.
"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," said Bolden.
The MPCV will continue to be developed by Lockheed Martin. The craft will carry four astronauts for 21-day missions and land in the Pacific Ocean off of California. Pressurized volume of habitable space will be 316 cubic feet. The craft, which should be carrying astronauts by 2016, will have a total volume of 690 cubic feet.
The Orion project was slated to be killed in an early 2010 NASA budget. Congress, however, supported the effort and President obama ressurrected a scaled down effort for Orion. Today, Orion is designed for a more limited role.
According to NASA, the MCPV is designed to:
- Serve as the primary crew vehicle beyond low Earth orbit;
- Conduct regular in-space operations such as docking and payload delivery;
- Be a backup for International Space Station cargo and crew delivery.
May 24, 2011
It's sad when the leaders of space have now become the followers. Our space program wasn't just about space - it was about progressing so much tech across the board. How we forget how much NASA has done for us all.
Y'all are forgetting something. When was the gov't ever innovative,,,,never, just an enormous bunch of bureaucrats, pushing one broom....Lockheed Martin....same deal. Innovation comes from guys like Burt Rutan and remember Howard Hughes...Gov't really hates them...low budget and old old OLD TECHNOLOGY doesn't rock the boat and can go LOW BID.
The renamed Orion can be launched on an Atlas V. No need for a Saturn V. There are many ways to extend the time on an Orion like docking to a Bigelow module. Hubble was not a make work for the orbiter. The orbiter size grew due to the initial requirement by Congress that the STS would be our only launch vehicle. That imposed the requirement that the cargo bay was large enough for the Air Force satellites. A smaller orbiter would have be less costly to use. The Hubble only took advantage of the space available. The ISS is not a make work for the orbiter. Alpha then ISS was mostly politics. However, the international partners have certainly made lemonade and made it a great laboratory. One question that never seems to be asked is, is LA worth $10 a year to save? Your hometown or the place you live? That's roughly what the Augustine Report said it would take for us to be a leader in space again. $10 a year per taxpayer. And a robust space program with humans and robots (if there is time left) will develop the tools to avoid another large asteroid collision. One large rock can level a huge area with huge loss of life. It's not if, it's when. New money would allow technologies like VASMIR shine and bring everything in space closer.
I know the Bug (VW) has been revamped, the Mini Morris, the 'T' Model (just kidding but not a bad idea? lol) but the space capsule? Sorry guys, what year is this? 40 years (+) of BIG dollars invested, BIG hours and this is it? A N D 2016? How much fuel to 'lift off' this 'revamp'? Why is science (I always indicate science rather than [millions of] scientists) taking so long to go in a more 'scientific' method? In anything? No apologies. Why can't science emulate science fiction ~ they used to... Hmmmm?
The capsule seems ok but is NASA going to seriously work on a "heavy lift launch vehicle" for the next few years? Sounds like the Saturn warmed over. I agree with sullivanjc and TonyTrenton. Rather than concentrating on "deep space" (whatever that is - anybody going to Alpha Centauri?) dwindling resources should be devoted to more efficient propulsion systems.
Burt Rutan has retired from his overwhelmingly successful aircraft design company. He said in a statement to the EAA (experimental aircraft association); that while he has retired that does not mean he has stopped having ideas that he will follow. He got us into suborbital flight, and brought us back by thinking about how a birds wing works. So lets give him a few billion (a drop in the hat for our government coffers), and ask him to give us a cost efficient, reliable, deep space craft. Star ship one was designed, built, and flown in less than time than it took NASA to design a zero G toilet (and for lots less money). Many aspects of this craft were not tested in a billion dollar wind tunnel, but by sitting on top of a car set up with various sensors (yes it was a very expensive car; and very fast), but come on a capsule that requires a rocket? Just my two cents worth.
Absolutely. Why have an ISS if one is to rely on pre-ISS tech for further exploration? Deep space will only be a meaningful goal if alternative propulsion and outside planetary gravity 'launches' are what is being considered or explored. Solar sails, "gravity-grabbing sling-shot", and other alternatives need to be considered. These and other methods have been fictionally explored by some extraordinarily intelligent SF writers, and have at least equal, if not more, potential than those explored and realized based on the work of SF writers of the 19th and 20th centuries.
President Obama's budget cuts have been detrimental to the Space Industry. I'm seriously not political but frankly he's a moron, the Japanese and Chinese are lurching ahead as the USA struggles to crawl forward. Watch out USA, the rest of the world will soon overtake us in all things. As for the capsule itself, it could only fly with a rocket under it. It's the Apollo capsules revisited, and I suspect it borrows something from the Russians. In any sane reality there would have been a movement towards a real space craft by now, super-shuttle if you want to call it that which would have it's own smaller space vehicles, even if it only existed as an adjunct to the ISS which could be used for almost anything including future moon landings.
Reactive chemical propulsion is too ineficient and slow for deep space exploration. The deadly radiation outside the protective emf of our planet is also keeping us captive. The force of the electromagnet field is 10^42 greater than the attractive force we call gravity. I think there is a clue here. I hope this may stimulate some creative mind set.
The photos look like the Apollo spacecraft, albeit with upgraded electronics and solar panels for power instead of fuel cells. Now, where is the upgraded Saturn-V to take it up? Oops - it got cut out of the budget! Dang! I bet there's a better than even chance this thing will never fly.
The shuttle was a mess all along. Limited orbit, extremely expensive for what it does/did, same with the space station. I really don't think anything of use has really come from the space station (even Tang was around before astronauts went up). We now have robots that can do most things, and well, cheaper, safer....
How "deep space" can you get on a 21 day mission? I was thinking the same thing about Apollo as dserres.
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Deep space to me should *at least* be beyond the solar system. I don't think this is what we're talking about. They need to build a launch mechanism that dramatically reduces costs to earth orbit (space elevator, Lofsrom loop, rail launcher) so they can start getting serious about moving beyond it.
Didn't you hear that its relatively "cool" to forgo advancing technology and that its generally whats in the publics best interest? Say goodbye to the new 2012 Ford Mustang and say hello to the NEW Model T! It's called a vehicle and can get you from point A to point B faster than walking! What a great breakthrough! Let's continue to fund and set asside large ammased budgets of tax payers money to keep funding archaic ideas.
My thoughts jumped to parking the 40ft RV and taking the same trip in the Mini Cooper. Does the MCPV forego the toilet facilities in the orbiter in favor of an airlock relief tube and Handi-wipes for showers? Gets better mileage I guess...
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...is that NASA was never capable of finding a way of costing less than $500-million and a billion dollars per mission to get there, as it did with the Shuttle.
A lot of comments about how manned space travel should be a priority but there's no justification for it. The Apollo, Gemini & Mercury programs were tied to a Cold War that's been over for 20+ years.
...that the ISS and Hubble were basically "make work" projects to justify the shuttle program, which was incapable of doing anything meaningful outside of low-earth orbit. Yes, on the surface a "capsule" looks like a step backwards. But it's a reliable and comparatively safe mode of transport compared to the shuttle and it's nearly countless failure modes.
As long as we insist on Earth launch we will be moving backwards. We must launch modules to the space station using cheaper unmanned rockets, assemble the modules in a space drydock. Ferry the crews up to the space station. And launch the spacecraft from space. Without this step, we will always be hamstrung by the need for super-expensive heavy lift rockets that launch from Earth. This is the path to a sustainable manned space program.
If the Hubble was a make work project, then the pay off in the advancement of cosmology was huge. If you mean that using the shuttle as the launch vehicle was unnecessary, then you're probably right.
Yes exactly. A lot of people here seem to think that space exploration must somehow emulate the glamor and esthetics of the artist-imagined space craft in their favorite sci-fi films.
An Earth-Orbiting drydock sounds like a good idea. Would be far easier in the long run. The biggest obsticale to this is of course the afore mentioned pig-headed people making the decisions who can't see anything beyond arm's-reach in front of them. This would be far more cost effective in the long run.
...for the sake of the Hubble, we could have launched a dozen disposable Hubbles, each better than the last, and to higher orbits where it's work would not be as compromised by light and atmospheric interference from the Earth.
What is stopping the development of most things these days is hard cash and a pig-headed government. It is the same kind of thinking which has led to the USA becoming reliant on Asia to manufacture our commercial electronics for all of us, at the price of LOSING manufacturing and technological superiority and future capabilities. It is because of this stupid reasoning that the USA cannot now compete in the world markets. Now this might seem off-topic but it isn't, it's all symptoms (and has the same long lasting effects) of the same penny-pinching condition. The USA is failing as a manufacturing nation; technology is being under-used. The collective intelligence in Western countries right now could build these vehicles. The collective knowledge of the USA, Europe and Russia could do it and take us into a whole new realm of possibilities. It's not Science Fiction any more. Technological advancement however is hampered by people who simply do not believe. You must make and use technology to make and use more technology. Advancements and Development comes from R&D. Knowledge breeds knowledge, while latency breeds only stupidity and redundancy.