Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

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!

NASA's Orion Moon Craft Unveiled

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the bang-zoom-to-the-moon dept.

NASA 179

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."

cancel ×

179 comments

Too bad it's not a real Orion (3, Interesting)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | more than 3 years ago | (#35576292)

Re:Too bad it's not a real Orion (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35576432)

So a concept that got killed in the early 60s is more real than a current project that is actually in testing? Can we get a "get off my lawn" while you are at it?

Re:Too bad it's not a real Orion (2)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | more than 3 years ago | (#35576540)

So a concept that got killed in the early 60s is more real than a current project that is actually in testing? Can we get a "get off my lawn" while you are at it?

Okay. Get off my lawn.

Re:Too bad it's not a real Orion (5, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Too bad it's not a real Orion (1)

ZonkerWilliam (953437) | more than 3 years ago | (#35577622)

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.

I'm not sure what you mean by "failures"? Maybe it didn't meet your expectations but definitely not failures. We have what we due to politics and limitations of reality not "Failures" of concepts or of what NASA has accomplished.

Like everything else, Reality seldom matches our expectations.

Re:Too bad it's not a real Orion (4, Interesting)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 3 years ago | (#35578296)

Chemical rockets are a dead end. They will never be able to put large amounts of supplies into orbit and will never be fast enough of interplanetary distances to be practical as anything more than an interesting diversion. The failure I am referring to is the failure to recognize this and invest money, time, and effort into alternatives. NASA successfully test fired a nuclear powered rocket that as a drop in replacement for on the Saturn V would have improved it's payload by 4x, using technology from the '60s. And then the funding dried up for anything experimental or paradigm shifting and we've been stuck on chemical rockets which have no hope of actually accomplishing any of the long term goals of the manned space program.

Perhaps it isn't a failure of the agency, they do, after all, get their funding and many of their mission statements from congress. But I have never heard about a high ranking NASA spokesman going to congress and saying "We need money for advanced, non-chemical launch technologies".

Re:Too bad it's not a real Orion (3, Insightful)

ZonkerWilliam (953437) | more than 3 years ago | (#35578678)

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.

Re:Too bad it's not a real Orion (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35577834)

"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."

Of course, it never says anything about the basic impossibility of the 50 year old concept... No, no, never. What is it about space and rockets that turns otherwise sane and rational individuals into the most fervent religious lunatics? No one gets excited about 50 year old concepts of computers.

Because it's all about the "exciting" and the delusional dreams. Not about reality. Reality stinks because the limits of our energy sources and materials are very evident when you look at rockets... And those limits ain't going away any time soon.

Re:Too bad it's not a real Orion (3, Interesting)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 3 years ago | (#35578504)

Energy density of H2: 39,000 Wh/kg (actually lower because this doesn't include an oxidizer.
Energy density of Fission of U-235: 25,000,000,000 (of course lower, because you need support machinery)

Pretty clear we aren't quite at the limits of our energy sources using today's launch technologies.

Uhm, no (2)

Aighearach (97333) | more than 3 years ago | (#35578048)

They reused the name to help people forget that the other one ever happened.

Or rather, to help people forget that the other one, which didn't actually happen, was ever planned.

Re:Too bad it's not a real Orion (4, Interesting)

Loadmaster (720754) | more than 3 years ago | (#35576794)

Project Orion will never be revived. However, use of nuclear power may still live in VASIMR technology. The prototype is supposed to go up this year but we'll see. If it works as planned it's a game changer for in-space travel. Unlike most revolutionary technology companies Ad Astra is actually helmed by an ex-astronaut with an actual Ph.D. VASIMR technology comes from Dr. Franklin Chang Diaz's MIT thesis.

It is a huge year for SpaceX, Ad Astra, and spaceflight in general this year.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/03/10/ad_astra_nasa_vf200_announcement/ [theregister.co.uk]

Re:Too bad it's not a real Orion (2)

lysdexia (897) | more than 3 years ago | (#35577072)

The Ad Astra Rocket Company, headed by Dr Franklin Chang Díaz. has already built an experimental prototype version of its Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket (VASIMR)

Did Robert A. Heinlein's ghost ghost write that article? :-)

Re:Too bad it's not a real Orion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35577196)

* Project Orion will never be revived.

You're right... it's won't be revived.

Simply because to make if work you need lots of cheap nuclear weapons. EXACTLY the kind of thing that no sane person wants in the world. Shame really... it's a fucking brilliant idea.

Re:Too bad it's not a real Orion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35577324)

Pardon me, but the United states already has a lot of relatively cheap nuclear weapons- Plenty to get Orion into orbit, and far cheaper than many existing weapon systems.

Re:Too bad it's not a real Orion (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Too bad it's not a real Orion (0)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#35577690)

Simply because to make if work you need lots of cheap nuclear weapons. EXACTLY the kind of thing that no sane person wants in the world.

I'm guessing the rebels in the middle east probably wish they had some cheap nuclear weapons right now.

Baby puke green? (1)

MrQuacker (1938262) | more than 3 years ago | (#35576322)

Offtopic, by why are the majority of aerospace projects painted in that hideous baby puke green?

I know there must be technical reason behind it, what is it?

Calming effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35576390)

Alot of interiors in institutional settings (public schools) and hospitals, as well as the cramped interiors of military vehicles and communication shelters are painted in this color. My understanding is the "puke" green provides some type of calming effect.

Re:Calming effect (2)

ShavedOrangutan (1930630) | more than 3 years ago | (#35577778)

My theory is that paints have to be made with equal quantities of each color. After consumers buy up the attractive colors, the ugly ones have to go somewhere. Might as well paint schools and government buildings with them. That must be why some military buildings I've seen are painted inside with the same awful yellow as my 3rd grade classroom.

Re:Calming effect (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 3 years ago | (#35578356)

Yet most sane people seem to hate those bland and "calming" colors intensely. Just from asking a few friends I have come to the conclusion that I am definitely not alone in almost getting feelings of nausea when I'm forced to be in hospitals or other buildings painted in those "calming" color schemes...

Although in practice I suspect it has more to do with being "non-offensive" to a the point where the non-offensiveness becomes offensive. It's not just the colors, ever look at the paintings on the walls of a hospital waiting room? or looked at what magazines they have available? Everything there is chosen to be as neutral and non-offensive as possible, which I suppose is awesome if you're extremely easily offended by just about anything, otherwise it just makes people uncomfortable.

As for spacecraft component color choices? probably not the same reason...

Re:Calming effect (1)

smelch (1988698) | more than 3 years ago | (#35578712)

You're supposed to feel uncomfortable so you are quiet and well behaved. As in you don't feel at home, won't enjoy yourself too much... it basically sucks your soul and makes you lifeless.

Re:Baby puke green? (3, Informative)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 3 years ago | (#35576488)

Most paints applied to spacecraft are chosen due to their thermal properties. Some paints will give higher reflective indexes, while others will absorb more energy, and still others are designed to let a certain amount of energy through the paint and into whatever surface it is covering. I don't know which paint, specifically, has the "baby puke green" color that you are referring to, but I would wager that the entire body of this spacecraft was coated in that paint specifically to control the thermal pathways through the spacecraft body.

It's worth noting that one of the most difficult and most important aspects of spacecraft design involve the energy management within the spacecraft. Spacecraft are subject to high levels of radiation, high and low temperature extremes, and house multiple boxes of electronics that cannot be cooled via typical convective methods as they are on the ground. Thus, to keep a spacecraft operating effectively, a full analysis must be done to take into account all energy (thermal or otherwise) sources in a spacecraft and redirect energy to appropriately sized energy sinks (radiators, heat-pies, etc.). This is one aspect of spacecraft design that many folks fail to take into account when discussing how simple it would be to build a spacecraft that does [insert theoretical task here].

Re:Baby puke green? (1)

icebrain (944107) | more than 3 years ago | (#35577178)

That's also why stealth spacecraft are effectively impossible. You can hide from radar all you want, but there's no way you can keep yourself as cool as the background of space (2K, was it?) for reasonable times.

But, in this case, the green paint is a corrosion-inhibitive primer on the internal structure. Pretty much the same stuff you'll see on aircraft.

Re:Baby puke green? (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 3 years ago | (#35577630)

But, in this case, the green paint is a corrosion-inhibitive primer on the internal structure.

Ah, that also makes sense.

Re:Baby puke green? (1)

Zandamesh (1689334) | more than 3 years ago | (#35576606)

I know when 16 bit colors were used, 5 bits were for red, 5 bits for blue, and 6 for green. I think it has something to do with the human eye seeing the color green the most intensely. Maybe that has something to do with it? Probably not though.

Re:Baby puke green? (2)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 3 years ago | (#35576666)

Offtopic, by why are the majority of aerospace projects painted in that hideous baby puke green?

I know there must be technical reason behind it, what is it?

Note that the picture shows the interior structure of the capsule, not the final external panels. I assume that it's probably a yellow-green zinc chromate coating that is commonly used to prevent corrosion on aluminum parts on aircraft and spacecraft.

Re:Baby puke green? (1)

icebrain (944107) | more than 3 years ago | (#35576940)

Yes, that is corrosion-inhibiting primer. It's toxic and carcinogenic, but we don't (yet) have anything better. There are several promising alternatives in the works but none that are quite mature enough to be used.

Re:Baby puke green? (2)

VolciMaster (821873) | more than 3 years ago | (#35577110)

Offtopic, by why are the majority of aerospace projects painted in that hideous baby puke green?

I know there must be technical reason behind it, what is it?

Note that the picture shows the interior structure of the capsule, not the final external panels. I assume that it's probably a yellow-green zinc chromate coating that is commonly used to prevent corrosion on aluminum parts on aircraft and spacecraft.

Why bother coating the aluminum? Aluminum oxide does a pretty good job of preventing corrosion.

Re:Baby puke green? (2)

icebrain (944107) | more than 3 years ago | (#35577320)

Why bother coating the aluminum? Aluminum oxide does a pretty good job of preventing corrosion.

Not really. Exposure to salty, humid air (think naval aircraft or anything sitting on the pad at KSC), dissimilar metal contact, etc. will all cause corrosion. Plus, aluminum alloys are more susceptible to corrosion than pure aluminum (or alloy sheets with thin aluminum coatings). Stress concentrations can exacerbate corrosion.

Plus, corrosion spreads, and the more widely spread it is, the harder it is to repair.

Think about it for a minute. We've been building airplanes made of aluminum for decades. If we could leave the primer off and not have to worry about corrosion, do you think anyone would still be using it?

Re:Baby puke green? (1)

fnj (64210) | more than 3 years ago | (#35578024)

Not that good. Not for most aluminum alloys under any kind of severe conditions. And zinc chromate over anodizing is much better than zinc chromate alone.

Of course, speaking of the inside of a spacecraft, it's hard to imagine the conditions would be at all severe.

Re:Baby puke green? (1)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 3 years ago | (#35578032)

Exactly. It's the same protective primer they paint 747s and such with before they apply the outer-coat of paint and assemble all the pieces.

If you ever see a jetliner in the shop, it will probably be re-coated with this stuff anywhere that is sealed or infrequently maintained.

Re:Baby puke green? (1)

Chruisan (1040302) | more than 3 years ago | (#35578076)

Green Zinc Chromate...one of my favorite colors when making model aircraft as a kid.

Re:Baby puke green? (1)

fotbr (855184) | more than 3 years ago | (#35576944)

Anticorrosion coating, color helps make sure no parts are missed and un-coated.

Re:Baby puke green? (1)

cababunga (1195153) | more than 3 years ago | (#35577380)

Please take your baby to see a doctor ASAP! This is not normal color for baby puke.

Re:Baby puke green? (2)

idontgno (624372) | more than 3 years ago | (#35577448)

Zinc Chromate Green [colorserver.net] . Corrosion inhibition coating for aluminum. The heraldic color of the aerospace industry since the 1940s.

New Features! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35576328)

This model comes with a handy chart for converting standard to metric. Just like the speedometer on my dad's old Toyota!

Inelegant (0)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 3 years ago | (#35576342)

It certainly lacks the elegance of the Space Shuttle, which is one of the things that made me fall in love with Space Exploration (and the fact that the captain gets all the green skinned women), but from what I've read, it's much cheaper to reuse. A shame we've decided that space isn't worth our time... not like we ever got any cool technology from space tech >_>

Re:Inelegant (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35576418)

The space shuttle is not elegant, unless you think camels are elegant. Design by committee does not anything elegant make.

Cancelling program a good decision? (0)

EraserMouseMan (847479) | more than 3 years ago | (#35576748)

This was one of the first things Obama did when he got into office.

Re:Cancelling program a good decision? (2)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 3 years ago | (#35577130)

It's how every gov project has worked for the last 60+ years.

Re:Inelegant (1)

Stenchwarrior (1335051) | more than 3 years ago | (#35576790)

I'm thinking Homer [wikia.com] made some sort of contribution.

Re:Inelegant (2)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#35577480)

The space shuttle is not elegant, unless you think camels are elegant.

In terms of being highly adapted for the terrain they occupy, as well as the climate ... I'd call that somewhat elegant.

Now, cameltoe [wikipedia.org] , that's a whole different story. Considered by some to be the most elegant design in nature. ;-)

Re:Inelegant (2)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | more than 3 years ago | (#35578378)

The space shuttle is not elegant

It sure as hell is. Pics of the orbiter in space always impress the hell out of me....

To wit:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5d/Space_Shuttle_Discovery_(STS-114_'Return_to_Flight')_approaches_the_International_Space_Station.jpg [wikimedia.org]

Re:Inelegant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35576514)

Aries was to cost 1B per launch (Augustine Commission report). Falcon 9 with an Orion or Dragon module will be less than 100M. We're not considering space worth our time because we can do it cheaply? We're don't consider it worth our time because we're opening it up to greater usage? Seems to me that the commercialization of space is a more serious undertaking then just a single resource and manpower limited space station. The space program has been fantastic for science and tech but we can continue that trend without government restriction on who can access space.

To each their own I guess.

The Space Shuttle does look neat, but it's not the best design for space use. I'd rather NASA use a design better fitted, more capable, and cheaper than the shuttle. Capsules work great for getting people to and from the ISS. Why demand complexity when the simplest answer is the best?

Re:Inelegant (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 3 years ago | (#35576898)

elegance of the Space Shuttle

o.O

Re:Inelegant (2)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 3 years ago | (#35576984)

A simple capsule that carries little in the way of extra weight is much more elegant in my mind. Those wings may look nice, but they are heavy and cause trouble.

And who's decided it isn't worth or time? I'm pretty sure NASA's budget is still strong despite the hatchet men in congress, exciting things are happening on many fronts, and we've got *multiple* manned vehicles currently in development and likely to see flight within 5 years. This is an exciting time for space exploration.

Re:Inelegant (2)

pedropolis (928836) | more than 3 years ago | (#35577230)

President Obama never said space isn't worth out time (your generalization has to hit something), but at $500m per launch, the aging shuttle fleet wasn't cost effective. It never achieved the goal of becoming our affordable pick-up truck to space. Bush's replacement solution for the shuttle was to build the biggest rocket ever, and Texas sized boondoggle that was beset by engineering problems. It was already over-budget and behind schedule. In order to provide more money for proven exploratory solutions (rovers and space telescopes), Obama sought out companies trying to become the first corporations providing LEO solutions. His aim was to reduce the cost of getting to space through free market solutions (which Republicans ironically criticized). Why should we do all the heavy lifting? This way NASA can focus on doing more of the exciting space stuff (Hubble, Spirit, Opportunity, James Webb, Pluto Express) without the cost overruns associated with big lift rockets and an aging shuttle fleet. Obama has stated a goal of a manned mission to an asteroid. Space planes are great optics, and inspiring, but NASA has been moving towards faster/cheaper/better now for years and the aging fleet doesn't meet that standard.

Re:Inelegant (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 3 years ago | (#35578354)

not like we ever got any cool technology from space tech >_>

I love Tang!

Back to Apollo (2)

U8MyData (1281010) | more than 3 years ago | (#35576356)

The Shuttle program was great for what it was and I am sad to see it go. However, I welcome the idea of an Apollo like program to inspire, distract, and encourage pushing the envelope again. I think the world needs some vision beyond what is terrestrial these days.

Re:Back to Apollo (1)

homey of my owney (975234) | more than 3 years ago | (#35576960)

Yeah, but not a warmed over, super-sized Apollo capsule. Is that it for innovation out of NASA? Modernized 40 year old capsules?

Re:Back to Apollo (2)

U8MyData (1281010) | more than 3 years ago | (#35577182)

I have thought long and hard about that. It also goes along the line of why not utilize the previous designs for the shuttle and improve on it rather than making a whole new launch system? But, until we have some kind of vastly improved propulsion systems, the design focus was on a series of upgrades on the proven. Just my two cents anyway...

Re:Back to Apollo (3, Informative)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#35577582)

It also goes along the line of why not utilize the previous designs for the shuttle and improve on it rather than making a whole new launch system?

Because the shuttle is a flawed design created by committee to meet numerous contradictory requirements?

Re:Back to Apollo (2)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 3 years ago | (#35578314)

In terms of actual track record - the Shuttle failed to deliver on many of its promises. Despite being a reusable vehicle, I believe it proved to be actually more expensive to operate than one-time-use launch vehicles. Part of that was due to conflicting requirements from multiple entities - the military wanted certain capabilities that greatly increased cost.

Meanwhile, the one-time use + capsule approach worked VERY well while it was in use, and has continued to work very well for Russia.

Go with what works, not what doesn't.

Modernizing a proven design is far less risky than a revolutionary one, and in many cases, basing your design on a proven one makes certification paperwork and testing MUCH easier. Certification and paperwork testing is a VERY large part of a program like this.

I believe, though, that the article is partially wrong. It says that Constellation was cancelled but Lockheed/NASA had plans for more than what Constellation required and hence continued on. I'm fairly certain this is wrong - what I recall from the days Constellation was in trouble (at that point good friends of mine were working on Orion) is that Constellation had very ambitious scope and goals for the Orion capsule, but after Orion went away there were still needs that Orion was well suited to fulfill, and hence it was able to continue in a significantly de-scoped form.

Re:Back to Apollo (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#35577236)

Yeah, but not a warmed over, super-sized Apollo capsule. Is that it for innovation out of NASA? Modernized 40 year old capsules?

You know, my brand new tower looks exactly the same as my 386 tower from 1993. Is that innovation? Modernized 18 year old computers?

(If you look real close the power supply type has changed, and I no longer have 3.5 or 5.25 floppys, in its place I have a front panel USB hub, and no turbo button / turbo LEDs, but this all requires close examination)

Re:Back to Apollo (1)

Ironchew (1069966) | more than 3 years ago | (#35577632)

For rockets, at least, I'm under the impression that the modern Soyuz is a solid design.

Re:Back to Apollo (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35577646)

Well, an 80-year-old Model A Ford has four wheels, two headlights and a steering wheel, just like a new Prius. So auto innovation is just modernized Model A's right?

Let's face it, a cylinder is the most efficient shape for a chemical-fueled vehicle and strapping a big winged glider to the side of a monster fuel tank was never an "elegant" solution. The idea of a reusable vehicle was neat, but the shuttle was never going to be a long-term thing. My personal opinion is that chemical rocketry is not going to be a long-term solution--probably nuclear (if the fear-mongering media will just STFU), or a space elevator, or something not invented yet.

Re:Back to Apollo (3, Interesting)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 3 years ago | (#35577988)

Capsules are an extremely capable form factor when talking about spacecraft. When something is orbiting a gravity well in a vacuum or near vacuum, the geometry of that thing has some very powerful effects on the design of the system in general. Capsule are nice in that they are symmetric about one axis. This makes controlling and pointing them very easy. If you take a geometry like that of the space shuttle, the control problems become much more difficult. Those large wings and that vertical stabilizer act as moment arms about your roll axis. Any forces that act upon those moment arms turn into large, asymmetrical torques (these forces can be due to atmospheric drag, radiation gradients, thermal gradients, micro-meteor impacts, etc.). Damping out the increase in angular momentum due to torques applied to such large moment arms requires more powerful, more massive, more power-hungry momentum exchange devices (like reaction wheels, CMG's whatever). Thus, such a clunky geometric design puts some heavy restrictions on your system design space.

Now, if you take a form factor like the capsule, you find that you don't have those giant moment arms (save for the solar arrays which, if designed properly, should go a long way in canceling out each other's torques). What's more, you have a nice aerodynamic shape that can reenter atmospheres much more elegantly than, say a brick with wings bolted on. All in all, the capsule is a beautifully elegant design that solves many of the difficult space-environment design problems through passive geometry, rather than through more active systems like large control mechanisms or expensive ceramic tiles.

Just because a design is 40 years old doesn't mean it's poor. The car is the same form factor that it was back when it was design in the early 1900's, but that's because there is a lot to be said for a 4-wheel base vehicle. That doesn't mean all cars are the same as the Model T though.

Finally, you should probably realize that The Orion was built and designed by Lockheed-Martin, not NASA.

Choice quotes (4, Insightful)

srussia (884021) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Choice quotes (0)

srussia (884021) | more than 3 years ago | (#35576414)

I think there's a type somewhere... seems more like the Onion Moon Craft.

typo dammit!

Re:Choice quotes (1)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 3 years ago | (#35577974)

irony

Re:Choice quotes (1)

xMrFishx (1956084) | more than 3 years ago | (#35576496)

... seems more like the Onion Moon Craft.

As it flies into space, everything peels off from the outer layers one by one until you get an astronaut on space hopper in the centre. Like a kinder egg, with a really expensive toy in the middle.

Re:Choice quotes (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35576594)

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

In an unrelated story, Lockheed Martin announces [bizjournals.com] a $35 million training center for Orion in Colorado.

Re:Choice quotes (1)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 3 years ago | (#35576828)

That was mentioned in TFA, about ten paragraphs down.

Do we really have to link to foxnews? (-1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35576376)

Got to love how that station just can't help themselves but to include a dig at the president. Stay class, Fox.

Here in reality, Ares is a boondogle and we need a fresh design, not more pork for solid booster makers.

Re:Do we really have to link to foxnews? (4, Interesting)

Revotron (1115029) | more than 3 years ago | (#35576582)

Excuse me... would you mind telling me where the "dig" is at the President?

The only passage I see that references our President is "Orion and the companion Ares heavy-lift rocket were part of Constellation, a program cancelled under President Barack Obama's 2011 budget proposal."

That is a statement of fact. It is in no way biased, skewed or twisted. It's just about as plain a statement as one can make.

But I guess it must be hard to notice these details when you've got to read over such a highly-held nose.

Re:Do we really have to link to foxnews? (2)

IndigoDarkwolf (752210) | more than 3 years ago | (#35576858)

Obviously the dig against him is the part where they say that instead the President urged NASA to send astronauts to an asteroid first.

Re:Do we really have to link to foxnews? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35577064)

One of the interesting facts in the story is that this spacecraft was built despite the president's stated goals for NASA. It's not a dig. Fox is just stating a relevant and interesting fact. Obama wants to land on asteroid... some people at NASA want to go back to the moon... both seem pretty cool in my relatively uninformed mind. I really do not see how this is a "dig" at the president.

misunderstanding (3, Interesting)

Gary W. Longsine (124661) | more than 3 years ago | (#35577200)

The Orion capsule is intended to be the baseline for both missions.

Re:Do we really have to link to foxnews? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35578156)

That is also dead accurate. Obama gave a speech at KSC and dismissed the Moon as a "been there, done that" destination.

"Let me put it bluntly, we've been there before. Buzz has been there."

As if we learned all we could by going to the Moon a handful times in the 60's.

Re:Do we really have to link to foxnews? (2, Informative)

divisionbyzero (300681) | more than 3 years ago | (#35578070)

Excuse me... would you mind telling me where the "dig" is at the President?

The only passage I see that references our President is "Orion and the companion Ares heavy-lift rocket were part of Constellation, a program cancelled under President Barack Obama's 2011 budget proposal."

That is a statement of fact. It is in no way biased, skewed or twisted. It's just about as plain a statement as one can make.

But I guess it must be hard to notice these details when you've got to read over such a highly-held nose.

Um, you do realize that selective statement of fact is one of the best ways to manipulate people, right? But given your reaction maybe you don't.

The story could have also said that "President Obama chose to replace the Constellation program with one focused on fostering the development of the technology for accessing Low Earth Orbit in the private sector." But of course that would insinuate that our "Socialist" President actually believes in the ability of the private sector to innovate rather than handing out pork to the industries in various politicians home states. That of course would be counter to their narrative and so they didn't. Instead they give the impression the President gutted the space program. It's not about holding your nose high. It's about being able to read between the lines.

Re:Do we really have to link to foxnews? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35577052)

Your echo chamber is about to blow out your ear drums, son.

Re:Do we really have to link to foxnews? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35577062)

The fact is that every president gives NASA an agenda that causes NASA to shelf the research of the previous agenda. This is why projects never manifest and, yes, today it is Obama who did this. It has nothing to do with Fox anything, it has to do with politicians second guessing science to make themselves look intelligent in the public's eye by taking the reins of what most people consider the most sophisticated technology out there.
 
Sorry if that hurts to hear it that way but you know it's true.
 
A truly progressive president would leave the science to scientists.

Re:Do we really have to link to foxnews? (0, Flamebait)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#35577378)

A truly progressive president would leave the science to scientists.

Who would be demanding that Congress end the manned spaceflight boondoggle and put the money into science missions instead. You can fly half a dozen unmanned probes around the solar system for the cost of one shuttle flight, and could have flown hundreds for the cost of ISS.

Getting NASA out of the launcher business is probably the best thing Obama has ever done.

Re:Do we really have to link to foxnews? (1)

dadelbunts (1727498) | more than 3 years ago | (#35577424)

Maybe presidents should be voted in for longer. But made easier to remove.

Why bother? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35576410)

NASA is dead under Obama.

Re:Why bother? (2)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35576634)

NASA is dead under every President since Johnson.

FTFY.

NASA link (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35576506)

Here's the link to NASA's page on the project.
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/constellation/orion/index.html

Cancelled? Confused? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35576526)

The article summary says the project was canceled, but was unveiled today?

Is this "it" ? (1)

Rollgunner (630808) | more than 3 years ago | (#35576528)

Am I reading this correctly? Lockheed-Martin is going ahead with the construction of the capsule even though the government isn't paying for it anymore?

Is this the moment where a private corporation risks a hundred million dollars betting on space exploration?

Re:Is this "it" ? (1)

vekrander (1400525) | more than 3 years ago | (#35576712)

Unfortunately, no. Lockheed-Martin is a publicly held corporation. Going through with this would not be approved by their board of directors, vice presidents or stock holders unless it could be shown to be profitable in the long run. This capsule will be paid for, that is if it isn't paid for already. I would assume it's all been taken care of, courtesy of tax payers. I'd bet you everything I have against this being a charitable donation to the government in the name of science.

Re:Is this "it" ? (1)

Tiger4 (840741) | more than 3 years ago | (#35577564)

I'd bet that part of it is the Us FY2011 budget debacle. Congress never passed a new budget for 2011. They just repassed a part of the old 2010. The 2010 budget had money to finish Orion. So basically they dropped another wad of money on LockMart marked "do it again". OK, not quite that easy really, but the extra cash probably came in handy on some of the finishing touches.

not charitable (1)

Gary W. Longsine (124661) | more than 3 years ago | (#35577610)

My understanding is that the Obama administration's re-direction came during the middle of a fiscal year. The work described in the article was already under contract when that re-direction occurred. Best case, NASA may have had a choice between allowing the contract to continue, or canceling the contract, which would also cost money. More likely, this program was in the budget as a line item, in which case it probably requires an act of Congress (in the literal sense) to cancel the program mid-year.

Re:Is this "it" ? (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 3 years ago | (#35577252)

There are quite a few private companies that are currently developing space capsules that the government isn't paying for. The first one that comes to my mind is Interorbital Systems. Much of SpaceX's Dragon capsule was developed with private funds. Boeing is currently developing a commercial capsule for launch cargo, and, possibly, crew. Orbital sciences is developing an unmanned capsule. There are also a handful of other, smaller contenders, but I can't recall them off the top of my head. Blue Origin has some kind of funky lander/capsule vehicle that they've tested, but I am not sure what they are planning on using it for yet.

The point is, there are many companies that are starting to invest in the space market for the sake of investing in the space market. Right now, the biggest impediment to the U.S. space program is Congress, not public will, lack of vision, lack of technology, or lack of engineering expertise.

It’s a lack of vision. (2)

alexander_686 (957440) | more than 3 years ago | (#35577640)

I will disagree – It’s a lack of vision. Blame it on our Presidents [and I do use plural] or our Congress – but it’s a vision thing.

Do we want to
        Build a space station?
        Go to Mars?
        Go to the Moon?
        Go to an asteroid?

All of these are valid, but each of these requires something a little different. Instead of a clear voice [We shall put a man on the moon in 10 years] we have these ½ measures for the past 20 years. And this leaves us with what? No replacement for the Space Shuttle?

And it’s nice that the private sector is doing what it can – but the private sector responses to supply and demand – and right now it’s the government and big science which is providing the loin’s share of demand. I am not trying to marginalize space tourisms or commercial satellites – but they don’t have the big bucks like government.

Re:Is this "it" ? (1)

bware (148533) | more than 3 years ago | (#35577882)

They're going ahead because Congress hasn't passed a budget for 2011 yet, so under CR, they keep getting the funding profile they had last year. The government, i.e., you and me, are still paying for it. And when we stop, they'll stop.

babys; we'd moon all of you, to delay our death (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35576534)

however, our diap's are stuck to most of us, & the anti-aircraft rounds make it difficult to stand/sit/poop anything?

our intentions remain unaddressed (except for the non-poisonous fake weather cloud machine invention, in qatar.);

1. DEWEAPONIZATION (not a real word, but they like it) almost nothing else good happens until some progress here, 'they' say.

2. ALL BABYS CREATED/TO BE TREATED, EQUALLY. (a rough interpretation (probably cost us. seems like a no-brainer but they expressed that we fail on that one too(:)->) 'we do not need any 300$ 'strollers', or even to ride in your smelly cars/planes etc..., until such time as ALL of the creators' innocents have at least food, shelter, & some loving folks nearby.' again, this is a deal breaker, so pay attention.

3. THOU SHALT NOT VACCINATE IRRESPONSIBLY. this appears to be a stop-gap intention.

the genuine feelings expressed included; in addition to the lack of acknowledgment of the advances/evolution of our tiny bodies/dna (including consciousness & intellect), almost nobody knows anymore what's in those things (vaccines) (or they'd tell us), & there's rumor much of it is less than good (possibly fatal) for ANY of us. if it were good for us we'd be gravitating towards it, instead of it being shoved in our little veins, wrecking them, & adversely affecting our improving immune systems/dna/development? at rite-aid, they give the mommies 100$ if they let them stick their babys with whoknowswhat? i can see why they're (the little ones) extremely suspicious? many, oddly? have fading inclinations to want to be reporters of nefarious life threatening processes, ie. 'conspiracies', as they sincerely believe that's 'stuff that REALLY matters', but they KNOW that things are going to be out in the open soon, so they intend to put their ever increasing consciousness, intellect, acute/astute senses & information gathering abilities, to the care & feeding of their fellow humans. no secrets to cover up with that goal.

4. AN END TO MANUFACTURED 'WEATHER'.

sortie like a no-(aerosol tankers)-fly zone being imposed over the whole planet. the thinking is, the planet will continue to repair itself, even if we stop pretending that it's ok/northing's happening. after the weather manipulation is stopped (& it will be) it could get extremely warm/cold/blustery some days. many of us will be moving inland..., but we'll (most of us anyway) be ok, so long as we keep our heads up. conversely, the manufactured 'weather' puts us in a state of 'theater' that allows US to think that we needn't modify our megaslothian heritage of excessiveness/disregard for ourselves, others, what's left of our environment etc...? all research indicates that spraying chemicals in the sky is 100% detrimental to our/planet's well being (or they'd talk to US about it?). as for weather 'extremes', we certainly appear to be in a bleeding rash of same, as well as all that bogus seismic activity, which throws our advanced tiny baby magnets & chromosomes into crisis/escape mode, so that's working? we're a group whose senses are more available to us (like monkeys?) partly because we're not yet totally distracted by the foibles of man'kind'. the other 'part' is truly amazing. we saw nuclear war being touted on PBS as an environmental repair tool (?depopulation? (makes the babys' 'accountants' see dark red:-(-? yikes. so what gives? thanks for your patience & understanding while we learn to express our intentions. everybody has some. let us know. come to some of our million baby play-dates. no big hurry? catch your breath. we'll wait a bit more. thanks.

do the math. check out YOUR dna/intention potential. thanks again.

Inside report: it's a Zombie Spacecraft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35576616)

Guy in my office was a program manager on one of the Orion subsystems up until about 6 months ago; he bailed out after the program was declared canceled by Obama. He tells me the 'spacecraft' in this article/photo is a one-of-a-kind that's currently a glorified jobs program that's running (in his words) "until NASA figures out what they're going to do next."

Apparently the single Orion capsule is allegedly going to be launched (unmanned) in an "Alan Shepard" suborbital shoot off a Delta booster as a demonstration at some point in the future, and that will be that.

Orion makes the shuttle look like child's play. (3, Interesting)

ModernGeek (601932) | more than 3 years ago | (#35576644)

I suggest that everybody read about Orion at the Lockheed Martin Website [lockheedmartin.com] .

I highly recommend this video [lockheedmartin.com] .

Good to see there is some interest afterall (1)

htcguy11 (2023568) | more than 3 years ago | (#35576696)

I'm relieved to see that there is interest in the space program afterall. As a big sci-fi and space fan myself, I think it is very important to learn all that we can about our solar system and beyond.

I can't believe it (0, Troll)

PingXao (153057) | more than 3 years ago | (#35576982)

You actually got me to click on a link that went to Fox News. Thanks, but I like being well-informed, so I think I'll wait until a real news organization reports on this. Google News, for some reason, keeps popping up links to them, too. Looks like it's finally time to block them at the firewall, just in case.

Re:I can't believe it (1, Funny)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 3 years ago | (#35578056)

I'm sure The Huffington Post will have a hard-hitting, detailed article about it soon...

NASA = 3D Realms (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 3 years ago | (#35577246)

Shuttle Replacement = Duke Nuke'Em Forever

The only way we're getting a shuttle replacement is if someone other than NASA's in charge.

Re:NASA = 3D Realms (1)

dadelbunts (1727498) | more than 3 years ago | (#35577356)

Or if we dig out the Buran.

Re:NASA = 3D Realms (5, Insightful)

oni (41625) | more than 3 years ago | (#35578380)

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.

A slight bit of clarity is called for here... (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#35577332)

"Lockheed Martin on Tuesday unveiled the first Orion spacecraft, a part of what NASA had planned as the sprawlingly ambitious Constellation project"

Keep in mind that while this was NASA's plan - the plan only existed because NASA was directed to create and implement the plan by the Bush administration.

Re:A slight bit of clarity is called for here... (1)

oni (41625) | more than 3 years ago | (#35578402)

which is like saying that Apollo was NASA's plan, but it only existed because NASA was directed to create and implement the plan by JFK.

You're trying to poison the well.

How much savings by launching from 20 miles up? (1)

ChronoFish (948067) | more than 3 years ago | (#35577520)

If you launch from 20 miles up - basically to the point where there aerodynamics starts to become irrelevant, how much could you then save on the size of rocket/amount of fuel needed to reach orbit - or the moon? Clearly not a new or startling idea, but any numbers on what a floating launch pad would buy you? (assuming the capability having a strong enough / lighter than-air launch pad (i.e. launch pad supported by large helium / hydrogen balloons).

-CF

Re:How much savings by launching from 20 miles up? (3, Informative)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#35577626)

Fairly significant, actually. Kistler's original launcher design was an 'SSTO' which would have launched from a platform lifted to around 100,000 feet; they reckoned that made the difference between viable and non-viable for that design.

There are two main benefits: you don't have to worry about aerodynamic drag, and you can use engines optimised for vacuum operation which are more efficient than engines optimised for sea-level operation.

Looks vaguely familiar (1)

WaffleMonster (969671) | more than 3 years ago | (#35577798)

I think I remember seeing this thing before.. but can't quite put my finger on where...

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...