Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Orion Spacecraft On the Path To Future Flight

CmdrTaco posted about 4 years ago | from the galaxy-is-on-orion's-belt dept.

NASA 135

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."

cancel ×

135 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Wheres it going? (0, Troll)

Rallias Ubernerd (1760460) | about 4 years ago | (#33656234)

My mom pointed out Orions wee wee once. Is that destination?

Re:Wheres it going? (1)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | about 4 years ago | (#33658954)

No, but it will sit on a giant object much longer than it is wide here on Earth.

I thought Orion was dead (4, Interesting)

roc97007 (608802) | about 4 years ago | (#33656262)

Have reports of the program's demise been exaggerated?

Re:I thought Orion was dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33656308)

Orion is still a go , Orion is the Crew Capsule it was the only Part of Constellation to remain, At present the whole Constellation program continues as NASA has been restricted by act of congress to dismantle or indeed stop a single thing until the new NASA budget is approved. Orion will most likely be the crew vehicle for any future launch system. At present looks like the SD HLV or Shuttle Derived Heavy Lift Vehicle will be the go !

Re:I thought Orion was dead (1)

sconeu (64226) | about 4 years ago | (#33656348)

How does SD HLV differ from Ares V?

Re:I thought Orion was dead (1)

sconeu (64226) | about 4 years ago | (#33657092)

Never mind. Found it on Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] .

It's a Shuttle-C derived stack, using the stock ET and stock 4-segment SRBs.

It'll also apparently be man-rated, but because the capsule is inside the fairing, there's no danger of falling foam damaging the heat shield.

Re:I thought Orion was dead (1)

physburn (1095481) | about 4 years ago | (#33657470)

Can't believe this weird mix of shuttle hardware could work out cheaper than a new big dumb rocket stack. I suppose the factories making shuttle tanks and solid rocket booster won't need retooling, but even so, this beasty looks much more complex than Ares.

---

Space Craft [feeddistiller.com] Feed @ Feed Distiller [feeddistiller.com]

Re:I thought Orion was dead (2, Informative)

camperdave (969942) | about 4 years ago | (#33658766)

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).

Re:I thought Orion was dead (4, Insightful)

Teancum (67324) | about 4 years ago | (#33658782)

Can't believe this weird mix of shuttle hardware could work out
cheaper than a new big dumb rocket stack. I suppose the
factories making shuttle tanks and solid rocket booster won't
need retooling, but even so, this beasty looks much more
complex than Ares.

It isn't really cheaper at all. Cost is not a driver here, but rather continuing to employ people in key congressional districts so NASA can gets its appropriations bill passed.

As for the factories making the tanks getting a retooling.... it is going to happen anyway. The external tank production line at Michoud has been shut down.... with a big New Orleans style parade with the final tank going down to the port and sailing off for Florida. The employees have been laid off and most of them have gone on to other jobs. There still is a crew left at the Michoud facility as there were other things going on besides the Shuttle contracts, but that was a major part of the work force there. They were going to be gearing up for the Constellation projects and specifically the Ares V, but I suppose that isn't working out so well either.

As for the ATK rockets produced at Promontory, Utah, those employees have also been laid off and many have moved onto other things. ATK landed a cute little contract for the Air Force that is sucking up those employees that they didn't want to let go and were still receiving Constellation funding (the funding is still flowing the the system).

I suppose the raw engineering has been done and there is a modest saving there, but having to bring back and train a whole new production crew from scratch sounds like an incredibly expensive proposition... especially if the funding for this is as shaky as I've ever seen any sort of project funding.

I don't expect more than a couple of flights with this hardware, even if it makes it to flight status in the first place.

Re:I thought Orion was dead (1)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | about 4 years ago | (#33658990)

They should reserve that configuration for heavy lift missions. It won't be long before alternative boosters will be available from other sources, including private sources, for lower mass missions.

Re:I thought Orion was dead (1, Funny)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about 4 years ago | (#33656756)

Orion will most likely be the crew vehicle for any future launch system

Project Mercury called. They want their spaceflight technology back.

Re:I thought Orion was dead (3, Insightful)

Martin Blank (154261) | about 4 years ago | (#33656902)

Current cars and trucks bear more than a passing resemblance to cars and trucks from the 1950s and 1960s, in part because the format works well. However, one cannot honestly say that the underlying technology has not changed dramatically. We can now carry more cargo for longer distances on less fuel with greater comfort, safety, and convenience.

Just because it's an older concept does not mean it cannot work in the present (or near future).

Re:I thought Orion was dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33657422)

Current AMERICAN cars and trucks bear more than a passing resemblance to cars and trucks from the 1950s and 1960s

FTFY

Re:I thought Orion was dead (3, Informative)

Martin Blank (154261) | about 4 years ago | (#33659960)

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.

Re:I thought Orion was dead (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | about 4 years ago | (#33661180)

If anything, European cars have changed less than domestic cars in form.

BMW has done very little to change body styling until recently.

Mercedes has done a little more.

And as far as Porsche... The 911 has barely changed in close to 50 years.

Re:I thought Orion was dead (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | about 4 years ago | (#33661578)

And the VW Beetle has been the same since 1938

Re:I thought Orion was dead (1)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | about 4 years ago | (#33658998)

Exactly wings on a spacecraft make just about as much sense as putting a propeller on it. Capsules can be just as capable as the shuttle was in orbit, and they are far easier and safer to launch and land.

Re:I thought Orion was dead (1)

Martin Blank (154261) | about 4 years ago | (#33659926)

Wings make sense when the vehicle is large enough. At some point, trips will routinely carry 100+ people, and the logistics of doing that as a capsule are daunting at best. Those craft will have wings, and there will be variants to return large masses from orbit for refurbishment.

Capsules and the shuttle were intended to perform two entirely different missions. At best, a capsule could only perform placement and perhaps repair of satellites; it cannot bring them back down. A shuttle-type system can do that, though the frequency of use was quite low.

Re:I thought Orion was dead (1)

Vectormatic (1759674) | about 4 years ago | (#33659516)

just a nitpick, but gemini would be a closer match, the mercury capsules did not have the ability to shift their orbit, they were just launched into orbit and had a small rocket pack lashed around the heatshield for a re-entry burn. Having actual orbital maneuvering capability is pretty significant in these days or satelite repairs and space station rendevous.

Gemini basically was a test-bed for a lot of things needed for apollo, such as in orbit rendevous, orbit shifting and spacewalks. Apollo then tacked on a LEM and the whole lunar transit orbit thing, along with some extra supplies and space for more crew. In terms of orbital spaceflight apollo didnt really add much.

Re:I thought Orion was dead (1)

Teancum (67324) | about 4 years ago | (#33660906)

Surprisingly, the Gemini spacecraft was in reality the proper successor to the Apollo spacecraft as it wasn't even authorized until most of the Apollo hardware had already been built. The design tempo on the Gemini spacecraft was rather high, and there were several innovations put into the Gemini spacecraft that never even made it into the Apollo design which had improved safety for the astronauts and represented a later design.

The one difference is that the Gemini spacecraft went into orbit first, and because it was a smaller spacecraft most people presume that it was a predecessor to Apollo designs. I will admit that the orbital rendezvous procedures were worked out with the Gemini program, along with EVA procedures and a whole bunch of other very important tasks that were incredibly important to human spaceflight. This experience was invaluable for later missions including later Shuttle missions. The ISS could never have been built if the Gemini flights had never flown.

When the "Manned Orbiting Laboratory" was designed, the original spacecraft that were going to service that space station was the Gemini spacecraft. There is even a version that was explicitly designed for docking with a space station that had a really bizarre through the rear hatch that penetrated the heat shield. In addition, there was a 5-man variant of the Gemini spacecraft called the "Big G" which at least got as far as the spacecraft mock-up stage (real metal being bent to test manufacturing procedures). BTW, the engineering and design work that went into the MOL ended up being the basis for Skylab when the last Saturn V was finally launched. The original plan was for nearly a dozen different space stations along a construction path more similar to how Russia ended up deploying their space stations in the 1970's.

Re:I thought Orion was dead (2, Informative)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | about 4 years ago | (#33656326)

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

Re:I thought Orion was dead (3, Informative)

rijrunner (263757) | about 4 years ago | (#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.

   

Re:I thought Orion was dead (4, Informative)

Teancum (67324) | about 4 years ago | (#33658878)

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.

Re:I thought Orion was dead (2, Informative)

camperdave (969942) | about 4 years ago | (#33659152)

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

Re:I thought Orion was dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33659220)

Technically, the Space Shuttle wasn't man rated. Also, both the Delta and Atlas have a clear pathway towards getting rated, and either of them could be brought up to spec for a fraction of the cost of the Ares.

Re:I thought Orion was dead (1)

ravenspear (756059) | about 4 years ago | (#33659846)

Dragon/Falcon is not man rated.

It was designed by SpaceX to meet NASA's existing requirements for human space flight.

However, requirements for commercial crew companies under the new model haven't even been released yet.

Re:I thought Orion was dead (1, Insightful)

Teancum (67324) | about 4 years ago | (#33660728)

However, requirements for commercial crew companies under the new model haven't even been released yet.

I find it disingenuous to be having NASA come up with commercial crew regulations when they clearly are acting as a competitor to the companies who are trying to put commercial crew vehicles into service. If that doesn't strike you as something odd, I am at a loss as to what would. I don't understand why Congress is insisting that NASA set the standards here.

My largest concern is that the standards, if they ever get published, will be written in such a way that nobody could possibly meet those standards. It should also be noteworthy that any time NASA has established such standards, they've had to exempt their own vehicles from those standards as something even NASA couldn't meet.

Also, while SpaceX is using the existing human spaceflight requirements as a yardstick, they fall under the jurisdiction of the Federal Aviation Administration and not NASA... other than the fact that SpaceX is trying to get NASA as a customer and it certainly is appropriate for NASA to establish independent standards for their own astronauts. If NASA sets the bar too high in that situation, they simply will be without a launcher to send astronauts into space. Oh wait.... NASA is without a launcher capable of sending astronauts into space and they are now using Soyuz capsules made with Soviet designs manufactured in Russia. Yeah, that sounds like a step forward to me.

Re:I thought Orion was dead (3, Interesting)

morgauxo (974071) | about 4 years ago | (#33661112)

Hey, the customer is always right. Even if NASA doesn't get a right to define what 'man rated' means by rule of law they still have the choice to buy or not to buy. SpaceX has to build to NASA's requirements because if they do not someone else will. I suppose the FAA could add to the requirements if they wanted to but if both agencies published requirements then SpaceX would have to meet both, not ignore their customer (NASA). They can't just build what they want to build and then expect NASA to be obligated to buy it from them. I suppose there are other customers out there but not so many they can afford to lose NASA. As for the FAA I don't think they would bother, NASA has been doing this for a while without them already. Plus, I think it's only within their jurisdiction until it reaches a certain height anyway. If the Senate bill goes through NASA will not be competing with SpaceX or any of the other commercial companies. Instead NASA will be focused on heavy lift rockets and getting beyond low Earth orbit. If they are doing that then dealing with building another orbiter would be a distraction at best. I'm sure those writing the checkes would be happy to just pay SpaceX or whomever else shows up and be done with it. Now... if the House version of the NASA appropriation bill goes through then things will get strange. NASA would be stuck building another orbiter and buying from SpaceX. Heavy lift and exploration beyond low Earth orbit would get sidelined for another generation or two. I hope that bill dies.

Re:I thought Orion was dead (4, Interesting)

Teancum (67324) | about 4 years ago | (#33660684)

If you can define man-rated, I'll bite here. Both the Delta IV and the Atlas V have enough thrust to place a capsule like the Orion up into orbit, or at least a manned vehicle.

I should also point out that it was an Atlas launcher (admittedly a predecessor to the current Atlas V) that has already seen service in the manned spaceflight program for NASA: It put John Glenn into orbit! Seriously, the argument that these vehicles aren't man-rated is overblown and isn't even a realistic argument here.

If you are willing to trust sending into orbit billion dollar payloads that represent a million man-hours of effort or more, that is something that at least exceeds the safety margin given for Shuttle launches and is likely to be better. There may need to be some minor tweaks to finish any honest assessment to make these vehicles man-rated, but that is very trivial compared to what is needed to get a brand-new launcher up to speed and rated for carrying astronauts. The NRO wouldn't have been sending their satellites up on these launchers if they weren't reliable.

Re:I thought Orion was dead (1)

somersault (912633) | about 4 years ago | (#33660064)

The crew is conducting simulated manufacturing and assembly operations with a full-scale Orion mockup

You thought it was a mockup - but now witness the firepower of this fully armed and operational battlestation.. err, spacecraft!

Orion Spacecraft On the Path To Future Flight (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33656268)

PERIOD

Not the big nuclear spacecraft (5, Informative)

DeWinterZero (1757754) | about 4 years ago | (#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]

Re:Not the big nuclear spacecraft (2, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 4 years ago | (#33656396)

Ah yes, old bang bang. I doubt that one will be launched from Canaveral.

Re:Not the big nuclear spacecraft (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33656438)

Al least, not more than once.

Re:Not the big nuclear spacecraft (2, Informative)

genican1 (1150855) | about 4 years ago | (#33656572)

No, it's the Orion spacecraft [wikipedia.org] they are referring to, not Project Orion [wikipedia.org]

They need to rename it (1)

Cajun Hell (725246) | about 4 years ago | (#33656626)

Anyone passingly familiar with the space program but not up-to-date is going to think the same thing.

It's not quite as bad as calling it "Apollo" or "The Space Shuttle" but still, they should have known it would confuse people.

Hey, I've got a great idea for an email virus scanner. I'll call it "Carnivore!" Ooh, and I have a way to detect if anyone has tampered with your computer, I'll call it "Palladium."

Re:They need to rename it (1)

lennier (44736) | about 4 years ago | (#33656798)

It's not quite as bad as calling it "Apollo" or "The Space Shuttle" but still, they should have known it would confuse people.

Hey, I've got a great idea for an email virus scanner. I'll call it "Carnivore!" Ooh, and I have a way to detect if anyone has tampered with your computer, I'll call it "Palladium."

And I've got a digital video playing technology I think I'll call "DivX". :)

Sometimes names get repurposed and the new purpose sticks. If there hadn't been the historical connotations, "Orion" is actually a much better name for "manned spaceflight" than "Apollo" (which is only slightly better than "Icarus" if you're not planning a mission into the Sun).

On the other hand, Apollo was a good solid brand, and it's a pity they can't do an "Apollo Phase II" or "Apollo Next Generation".

Re:They need to rename it (1)

morgauxo (974071) | about 4 years ago | (#33661146)

Yes, Apollo was a good solid brand but I wouldn't want to see it re-used any time soon. Then all the little kiddies who think going back to a capsule after 30 years of winged craft that could do no better than low Earth orbit would REALLY get annoying with their 70s technology cracks.

Re:They need to rename it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33656858)

They deliberately named it Orion after Project Orion, as an homage.

Re:They need to rename it (1)

khallow (566160) | about 4 years ago | (#33657396)

Anyone passingly familiar with the space program but not up-to-date is going to think the same thing.

Fifty years out of date yet they're "passingly familiar" with NASA? No way.

Re:They need to rename it (0, Troll)

Idiomatick (976696) | about 4 years ago | (#33658492)

Timeline of Spacetravel:

1957 - Sputnik marked the start of the space race.
1961 - First man in space. Russians still winning.
1965 - Probe hits Venus.
1966 - First in space docking.
1969 - First man on the moon, US wins space race.
1973 - Saturn V program ended.
...
...
1986 - Space Shuttle Explodes
...
...
...
2003 - Space Shuttle explodes.

I can see why people might be uncertain what NASA is doing lately. Compared to the 60s? Fuck all. (Yes I'm aware that we have rovers on mars and cool telescopes, but if you look only at stories that made front page news in the MSM? This is what space history looks like.)

Re:They need to rename it (5, Informative)

Teancum (67324) | about 4 years ago | (#33658928)

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.

Re:They need to rename it (2, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 4 years ago | (#33660328)

Omitting the mars landers and the Jupiter / Saturn flybys, as well as the out-of-system probes shows a selective memory. So does omitting Skylab, the ISS, and so on.

Re:They need to rename it (1)

morgauxo (974071) | about 4 years ago | (#33661218)

Jupiter/Saturn flybys... ok. Those probably deserve some mention

Skylab? ISS? If Skylab gets any mention it needs to include 'Skylab dropped into the sea practically unused'. Honestly I wouldn't include either in that timeline. Public awareness comes from doing something which is either a big step forward or blowing people up. We did low Earth orbit with project Mercury. The ISS is stuck in low Earth orbit. The rovers are great but we had probes on Mars some time ago too.

Re:They need to rename it (1)

Vectormatic (1759674) | about 4 years ago | (#33659556)

Yup, my first thought was project orion as well, and within half a second i realized that wont ever happen, so it had to be some small part of current projects

Project Orion would have been awesome though, just think of rocketing of the face of the earth in your milion-ton spacecraft powered by nuclear bombs, with heavy metal blasting through the speakers!

Re:They need to rename it (1)

morgauxo (974071) | about 4 years ago | (#33661262)

I could see Korea or Iran doing this 20-30 years from now just to piss the US off. China might even be a contender for that... they would certainly have the capability quicker though they might be a little too diplomatic to go there. Not that diplomatic though given the weather satellite they blew up. (Yes the US did that too but at least they picked one in a orbit where the debris would fall to Earth rather than create long term shrapnel)

Re:They need to rename it (1)

mrsquid0 (1335303) | about 4 years ago | (#33660846)

Anyone with just a passing familiarity with the US space programme is unlikely to know about the nuclear Project Orion of yesteryear. Anyone who is familiar with the US space programme is not going to confuse the two.

Re:Not the big nuclear spacecraft (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 4 years ago | (#33657096)

That's why it's tagged !therealorion [slashdot.org] , and was since before you posted.

Re:Not the big nuclear spacecraft (1)

Vectormatic (1759674) | about 4 years ago | (#33659566)

bah, tags (or any form of concattenated words) should use some form of CammelCase, i parsed that as "there al orion" at first...

so i propose "theRealOrion"

Re:Not the big nuclear spacecraft (3, Interesting)

shess (31691) | about 4 years ago | (#33657636)

I totally want them to make a Footfall movie and really use a Project Orion craft. Usually they just have a technobabble solution for how the humans beat the aliens, but in that case you didn't need to use technobabble. The humans really did have a big stick, they were going to kick your ass, and there wasn't anything you were going to be doing about it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Footfall [wikipedia.org]

Re:Not the big nuclear spacecraft (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 4 years ago | (#33658838)

"God was knocking, and he wanted in bad."

One of my favourite lines.

Re:Not the big nuclear spacecraft (1)

Teancum (67324) | about 4 years ago | (#33659012)

Unfortunately I don't think the Space Shuttles are going to be available for use with the Orion-class vessel (called "Michael" in the book). They were supposed to be acting like fighters from the mothership being more like a carrier. I don't know if that ever would have worked, but at least it was plausible and something other SciFi movies have tried to take advantage of.

I agree it would make a might fine movie and something that ought to be made. The whole plot line with the Soviet Union isn't nearly as important and certainly could be updated to reflect the current world political situation.

Then again, I have no idea how you would put a nuclear Iran into the story or if it would be wise for the producers to even consider how to do that.

Re:Not the big nuclear spacecraft (1)

Chibi Merrow (226057) | about 4 years ago | (#33660030)

Then again, I have no idea how you would put a nuclear Iran into the story or if it would be wise for the producers to even consider how to do that.

Drop The Foot in the Arabian Sea and drown them?

Re:Not the big nuclear spacecraft (1)

Agripa (139780) | about 4 years ago | (#33661144)

Unfortunately I don't think the Space Shuttles are going to be available for use with the Orion-class vessel (called "Michael" in the book). They were supposed to be acting like fighters from the mothership being more like a carrier. I don't know if that ever would have worked, but at least it was plausible and something other SciFi movies have tried to take advantage of.

I agree it would make a might fine movie and something that ought to be made. The whole plot line with the Soviet Union isn't nearly as important and certainly could be updated to reflect the current world political situation.

Then again, I have no idea how you would put a nuclear Iran into the story or if it would be wise for the producers to even consider how to do that.

None of the needed changes would have to negatively impact the plot or theme.

We still have the battleship turrets available and could produce 5 inch and 8 inch guns on short notice. The shuttle could be replaced with any current spacecraft which includes restartable engines like the Space-X Kestrel.

Iran could almost take the place of South Africa as an isolated industrial nation being conquered but the South African nuclear capability was not an issue in the story anyway. I am sure any number of physically isolated but industrial advanced areas would work. South Africa was just a leading example at the time.

The partnership with the Soviets works almost as well when replaced with Russians but China could serve just as well if you want to keep more of the Cold War feel to it. You just need someone who could execute a nuclear strike on the American mid-west. The EU could play a bigger role as a more unified entity perhaps but I am not sure it would add enough to the story to be worth the screen time.

The biggest problem I see off hand is explaining why the aliens do not subvert our own computer networks which are much more important now then when the story was written but it would be easy enough to make a point that such subversion was insufficient in itself without military action. The aliens would at least have considered it.

I have occasional dreams about how to adapt Footfall and Lucifer's Hammer to a viable screenplay.

You're asking "Which Orion"? (1)

Kittenman (971447) | about 4 years ago | (#33658082)

To which I reply .. 'Any Orion, Any Orion, Any any any Orion... you'd look sweet, talk about a treat ..." etc.

With apologies to the crew of the radio show I heard it on, some thirty years ago (Hello Cheeky?)

In an alternate timeline... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33658658)

In an alternate timeline... the Moore's Law expectation dynamic was never established, and we're all using 8008's. In an alternate timeline... the telco's won in the 90's instead of the 10's, and we're still using Comcast-AOL and Usenet. In an alternate timeline... Disney decided to use trademark law, and not changes to copyright law, to retain Pooh revenue.

In an alternate timeline... we're in space.

(I'd a similar brief moment of "wow... if only...".)

Bad name? (1)

sqlrob (173498) | about 4 years ago | (#33656304)

Is it related to this [wikipedia.org] Orion or did they just reuse the name?

Re:Bad name? (1)

gerddie (173963) | about 4 years ago | (#33656558)

No, its related to that [wikipedia.org] !!

Re:Bad name? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33656826)

My first thought as well.

Re:Bad name? (2, Informative)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | about 4 years ago | (#33656584)

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] .

Re:Bad name? (1)

hcdejong (561314) | about 4 years ago | (#33660032)

To make things easier, there's also a Lockheed Orion aircraft...

Re:Bad name? (2, Funny)

louden obscure (766926) | about 4 years ago | (#33656842)

i prolly need to get my eye glass prescription changed... on first glance i read it as being named "onion."

The link wouldn't work for me, but... (5, Informative)

Unkyjar (1148699) | about 4 years ago | (#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.

I'm s(t)imulating too (-1, Troll)

jewishbaconzombies (1861376) | about 4 years ago | (#33656342)

In my pants. And the byproduct is far more real than anything NASA can come up with these days for a Space Shuttle replacement.

Re:I'm s(t)imulating too (0, Troll)

jewishbaconzombies (1861376) | about 4 years ago | (#33656362)

In my pants. And the byproduct is far more real than anything NASA can come up with these days for a Space Shuttle replacement. Cheaper too.

Re:I'm s(t)imulating too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33656676)

In my pants. And the byproduct is far more real than anything NASA can come up with these days for a Space Shuttle replacement. Count on it.

Re:I'm s(t)imulating too (1)

SlashdotModsSuckAss (1906152) | about 4 years ago | (#33656862)

In my pants. And the byproduct is far more real than anything NASA can come up with these days for a Space Shuttle replacement. Prove me wrong.

Re:I'm s(t)imulating too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33656870)

"Man is the best computer we can put aboard a spacecraft... and the only one that can be mass-produced with unskilled labor." - Werner von Braun

Re:I'm s(t)imulating too (-1, Troll)

SlashdotModsSuckAss (1906152) | about 4 years ago | (#33656930)

careful - cmdrburritosupremeofag, is switching all accounts to bad whomever doesn't suck NASA cock regardless of how much karma you have. He's funny that way.

Better get sucking some space cock now.

Re:I'm s(t)imulating too (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33657214)

careful - cmdrburritosupremeofag, is switching all accounts to bad whomever doesn't suck NASA cock regardless of how much karma you have. He's funny that way.

Better get sucking some space cock now. Cmdrburritofag demands it.

Re:I'm s(t)imulating too (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33657302)

careful - cmdrburritosupremeofag, is switching all accounts to bad whomever doesn't suck NASA cock regardless of how much karma you have. He's funny that way.

Better get sucking some space cock now. Cmdrburritofag demands it - obey the Cmdrburritofag.

Re:I'm s(t)imulating too (0, Troll)

SlashdotModsSuckAss (1906152) | about 4 years ago | (#33657850)

careful - cmdrburritosupremeofag, is switching all accounts to bad whomever doesn't suck NASA cock regardless of how much karma you have. He's funny that way.

Better get sucking some space cock now. Really.

Not a good namesake if we're being honest (1)

Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) | about 4 years ago | (#33656392)

Orion the Hunter was killed by a scorpion
Orion Pictures went bankrupt
Orion spacecraft ???

Re:Not a good namesake if we're being honest (2, Interesting)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | about 4 years ago | (#33656646)

Well to be fair, in the myths you are referring to, Orion is the best hunter that ever lived according to the Greeks. He died by scorpion sting in most variants of the myth due to either boasting about his hunting abilities, or threatening to kill every beast on the surface of the Earth because he was such a great hunter. As such, various gods (usually Artemis or Gaia) designed the scorpion (either giant or tiny, depending on the variant of the myth) to prevent him from doing just that. So the only reason Orion was killed by a scorpion (in the variants where he is killed by a Scorpion) was because he was too much of a bad ass for the gods to risk leaving alive. I'd say that's a pretty cool reputation to have.

Besides, Orion is one of the most prominent and all around epic constellations in the night sky. I'd say the name has plenty of good publicity going for it. Besides, even the movie company you listed produced quite a few good films (Silence of the Lambs, Terminator etc.)

Re:Not a good namesake if we're being honest (1)

Lanteran (1883836) | about 4 years ago | (#33656774)

maybe it's a deathtrap, but the name sounds really cool.

Re:Not a good namesake if we're being honest (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about 4 years ago | (#33657546)

Orion the Hunter was killed by a scorpion
Orion Pictures went bankrupt
Orion spacecraft ???

??? = Causes nuclear explosions [wikipedia.org] . Therefore that one is much more awesome.

Finally, we're moving into the future (4, Interesting)

Just_Say_Duhhh (1318603) | about 4 years ago | (#33656434)

Hmmm, the link looks like it has been slashdotted, but since it says "archives," it might not even be the right one. Maybe they meant this one? [marketwatch.com]

As inspiring as the STS program was, it's time to move on. Thinking about a craft that weighs several thousand tons being used to move crew and cargo into space on the same ride just doesn't make sense. We can send an unmanned cargo ship into orbit quite easily, without needing all of the protection that a "human cargo" would require. Having a tiny Orion spacecraft bring the people makes a lot more sense.

How did we get into the "combined crew & cargo" paradigm? Perhaps it was because of the difficulty in providing unmanned vessels that made it to the specified destination, or perhaps it was because the Gemini and Apollo astronauts really hated being compared to the "chimp in a suit" and forced NASA's to put people on every ship.

I'll just be glad when I see something smaller than a double-wide mobile home being used to ferry the humans into space.

Re:Finally, we're moving into the future (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33656550)

As I recall, it was an act of congress stating that the shuttle had to be able to retrieve satellites, an ability it only used a handful of times. This may not be correct, however.

Re:Finally, we're moving into the future (1)

gilgsn (239700) | about 4 years ago | (#33656560)

Hi, it is the right one... I added maxconnections to MySQL, but still having trouble... I am using a CDN, but there is a video on the page which I think is still pulled from the server, and I think that's what causing the overload. Last time I was slashdotted, that didn't happen... Sorry about that...

Gil.

Re:Finally, we're moving into the future (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 4 years ago | (#33656576)

Inspiring?
More like sickening. The shuttle was my first lesson that management will fuck up anything engineers ever do. The Shuttle was designed to bring bacon to senate districts not explore space in any meaningful way, and surely not reduce costs doing it.

Re:Finally, we're moving into the future (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33656772)

Please describe this "exploring space" you speak of. It's a vacuum. There's nothing there. A few dust particles, some protons. That's it. The Shuttle was never more than about LEO. Even Saturn V was nothing more than a single purpose political gesture. You can take great pictures *of* space from right here on Earth. We are nowehere near the level of technology you Space Nutters would require to *actually* explore space. Then there's the vexing problem that humans don't work very well in space, and even if they did, they certainly don't live anywhere near long enough.

Where's the "we choose to do these things not because they are easy, but because they are hard" when it comes to life extension? You wackjobs are condeming us to our insect-like short life span while the Universe you so want to explore will last billions of years. To be rational and consistent, step #1 is understand our own biology. PLENTY to explore there! No rockets though, so the adult 8 year olds that represent the most rabid faction of the Space Nutter Brigade won't be satisfied.

Re:Finally, we're moving into the future (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Finally, we're moving into the future (1)

khallow (566160) | about 4 years ago | (#33657082)

Please describe this "exploring space" you speak of. It's a vacuum. There's nothing there.

We're not speaking of your skull, but outer space, which is known to have something other than vacuum in it.

Re:Finally, we're moving into the future (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33660362)

Yes, but it's not distributed very evenly, is it? It's beyond our technology to do anything about it. Get used to it. You were raised on sci-fi and utterly unrealistic portrayals of technology. We have no such technology. and space is immense. It's HUGE. It took all we can do as a race to get to the Moon. And guess what? It's pretty damn empty too.

So except for ad hominem attacks, you have nothing. No logical arguments. Space Nuttery is just about emotion.

Re:Finally, we're moving into the future (1)

khallow (566160) | about 4 years ago | (#33661312)

Yes, but it's not distributed very evenly, is it?

What a stupid thing to say.

It's beyond our technology to do anything about it.

Let's move the Sun because? Let's move the Moon because? Sure it's beyond our technology to move things around, but why would we want to?

You were raised on sci-fi and utterly unrealistic portrayals of technology.

One of those "unrealistic portrayals of technology" involved landing a dozen people on the Moon, a piece of non-vacuum that's pretty close to Earth as it turns out.

We have no such technology. and space is immense. It's HUGE. It took all we can do as a race to get to the Moon. And guess what? It's pretty damn empty too.

Oh good, you noticed that we went to the Moon. There are two things to note about your statements above. First, it took a few hundred thousand people to go to the Moon. The rest of the 3.5 billion or so didn't participate. So it is wrong to claim that going to the Moon took the resources of the human race. Second, the Moon isn't empty. Sure, it doesn't have any trees or Starbucks. But it has a lot of stuff for making stuff. Maybe it'll never be a good place for a lot of people to live (due to the relative absence of things like hydrogen, carbon, and nitrogen), but it'll be great for industry.

Your FIRST lesson? (1)

rickb928 (945187) | about 4 years ago | (#33656824)

Like, you haven't owned a toaster, car, or cell phone?

You lead a sheltered life, my friend. Lots of crap doesn't work nearly as well as it might, just because Management said to make it cheaper. The Shuttle works pretty damned well, in spite of Management making insanely stupid decisions.

Orion will, of course, be perfect. Right. Like your cell phone.

Re:Your FIRST lesson? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 4 years ago | (#33656992)

At the time no, I was a little kid when the shuttles were first launched.

Re:Your FIRST lesson? (1)

khallow (566160) | about 4 years ago | (#33657154)

The Shuttle would have worked even better, if they had instead, dropped the program and stayed with the Saturn 1B. That kind of "doesn't work nearly as well as it might".

Re:Your FIRST lesson? (1)

rickb928 (945187) | about 4 years ago | (#33657786)

No Shuttle no Hubble.
Much harder to do the ISS.

The Shuttle is a good deal if it only teaches us what not to do.

Re:Your FIRST lesson? (2, Interesting)

camperdave (969942) | about 4 years ago | (#33659104)

The ISS could have been done with four or five Saturn launches instead of the 40+ shuttle launches it has taken so far, and the thing isn't even finished.

Re:Your FIRST lesson? (1)

Teancum (67324) | about 4 years ago | (#33661094)

Considering that Skylab has just over half of the volume of the ISS, I think you are being quite generous here suggesting it would take that many flights with a Saturn V. 2-3 flights for the habitation modules and a couple more perhaps for the power farm, and it would have been a kick-ass station that would put to shame what is currently called the ISS. I think it certainly could have been built for far less than the $100 billion that the ISS has burned through too.

Re:Your FIRST lesson? (1)

Vectormatic (1759674) | about 4 years ago | (#33659602)

i've seen calculations about how many hubbles the americans could have sent up for the cost of the repair missions (and that is just the mission costs, not counting the cost for the shuttles actual ability to do this), hint, it is more then one...

As for the shuttle teaching you what not do, fair point, but does it really take 30 years or keeping an expensive space el-camino in service to figure out it isnt the best idea?

Re:Your FIRST lesson? (1)

khallow (566160) | about 4 years ago | (#33661194)

No Shuttle several Hubbles.

Much cheaper to do the ISS.

Fixed it for you.

The Shuttle is a good deal if it only teaches us what not to do.

It is possible that even in the late 80s, people might not have legitimately realized what a waste the Shuttle was. So charitably, the lesson should have been learned by 1990 that the Shuttle would hinder US space development. No further commercial payloads and military/spy payloads were running out. So what was the Shuttle doing flying another two decades? What lessons of failure did we still need to learn, that we hadn't already learned by 1990? I can't think of anything. But continuing the Shuttle gravy train helped the supply chain make money.

Re:Your FIRST lesson? (1)

Teancum (67324) | about 4 years ago | (#33661474)

I still assert that had NASA kept the Apollo/Saturn program going... including perhaps a scaled back but continued production of the Saturn V and certainly the Saturn 1B vehicles... that NASA would have put more astronauts into space, had fewer casualties, and been to many more places besides running around in circles at low Earth orbit. We know that the Apollo spacecraft were capable of interplanetary spaceflight... because it went places other than merely orbiting the Earth.

Of the bold plans for using Apollo hardware, the most outrageous to me is the Manned Venus Flyby mission [wikipedia.org] that was to use existing Apollo hardware and something that later took form as Skylab for supplies and living space enroute. Even the most ambitious plans for Orion have yet to achieve something approaching this mission design, much less going on to a place like Mars or even Phobos.

There was some interesting technology developed for the Space Shuttle, but it should have been built as a demonstrator project first... something more akin to the original X-programs like the X-15 rather than something which became the Frankenstein monster that the Shuttle became. That the Shuttle program worked out as well as it did is more a testament to the dedication and hard work of those who were able to shoehorn the program as it was the only game in town.

The only capability which the Saturn family of rockets lacked which the Shuttle introduced was the ability to carry down from orbit payloads that weighed on the order of dozens of tons of payload. I think if the need for that kind of capability was needed, some other specialized method would be created for that purpose. The number of times that capability was actually used is small enough I could use a single hand to count them.

Re:Finally, we're moving into the future (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | about 4 years ago | (#33657040)

How did we get into the "combined crew & cargo" paradigm?

Well, Apollo used it quite well. Y'know, send the crew up with the LEM, etc. The reason for this was that NASA felt it couldn't successfully validate the two different launch systems (one for the LEM, etc. and one for the crew) in time to meet the "end of the decade" schedule.

In the case of the space shuttle, one reason was that NASA was going to use satellite launches to subsidize the manned space program. We're going to send a rocket into space. If we can get people to pay us to take some satellites with us, we make launches "cheaper" by having them generate revenue which can be used to offset the costs. Way back when, the government was the sole gateway to outer space. But by the time the shuttle came along, this was opening up.

Re:Finally, we're moving into the future (1)

Teancum (67324) | about 4 years ago | (#33661304)

It might have been in theory a way to subsidize the flights, but the practical matter of how it turned out is that it was the shuttle flights that subsidized the satellite launches... to the point that it took out private spaceflight efforts like the Conestoga [wikipedia.org] rocket. I have no idea if these guys could have been commercially successful, but competing against the insanely low cargo rates quoted by NASA was one of the reasons why this company never was able to make a profit and ultimately why it shut down.

It should also be pointed out that while NASA quoted some low prices for sending commercial cargo into space on the Shuttle, they never really delivered except in a couple of very rare cases. By the time of the Challenger accident, NASA quit even accepting commercial payloads except for things that would support existing missions directly, and after the Columbia accident NASA quit even accepting non-NASA payloads from other government agencies like the NRO.

The history of commercial spaceflight is interesting, particularly because they have been fighting NASA much more than having NASA as a partner that was trying to incubate commercial spaceflight. Some of that mentality still exists, although the arguments against commercial spaceflight are rather weak now.

Re:Finally, we're moving into the future (3, Insightful)

camperdave (969942) | about 4 years ago | (#33658870)

How did we get into the "combined crew & cargo" paradigm?

Why not? The only time you need to separate the crew and the cargo is during an abort. The cargo is expendable. The crew, not so much. Where the shuttle failed is that it did not have a crew abort mode.

Slashdot effect. (1)

gilgsn (239700) | about 4 years ago | (#33658844)

Hello, I seem to have fixed the problem, playing with httpd.conf and my.cnf... Now I need better hardware! Sorry about the downtime.

pork (1)

strack (1051390) | about 4 years ago | (#33659394)

ares and orion look like bits of pork projects from the shuttle sewn together into some hulking pig atrocity. shuttle solid rocket boosters, shuttle hydrogen tanks, shuttle engines. the idea of designing from a clean slate is endemic to the pork barrel nature of government aerospace cost plus subcontracting. thank fucking christ for elon musk is all i can say. he has the capital, and the vision, and, most importantly, no politicians meddling in what really is a engineering domain.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?