Wednesday, November 07, 2007

First Look at the Orion Crew Module

I know it seems like we've had the space shuttle forever, and will have it forever, but the program will actually be shut down in just a few short years. What comes next? The Constellation program will continue the US human spaceflight efforts, eventually bringing people back to the Moon. As part of the program, workers at NASA unveiled a mockup of the Orion crew module.

I like it; it has an endearingly hokey "Outer Limits" look going on.


dos huevos said...

It sure has plenty of (gold foil wrapped) balls!

dad2059 said...

I was watching Mars Rising the other morning and the engineers were discussing Orion.

The explanation given for the retro capsule design is because since its' primary function is Lunar exploration/transport, it would be re-entering Earth's atmosphere at 25,000 mph, too high for a winged vehicle to survive.

I forgot that was the escape velocity needed for a Lunar injection flight path.

It's been so long.

Tony F. said...

What does NASA have planned to continue missions to the ISS or for satellite delivery? Seems like they'd need a shuttle-type vehicle for that kind of thing.

I'm all for retiring the shuttle; especially with all the problems its had in the last couple missions with heat tiles and such. I can't still help but feel a wave of disappointment at the Orion design; like we've reached the limits of what we're capable of in space, or we're afraid to take bold new steps.

dad2059 said...

NASA plans for Orion to do ISS duties until private companies catch up technologically to bid out orbital services Tony.

I too was disappointed in the Orion design. It would have been nice to see something innovative, but NASA as always was underfunded and the Apollo-style capsule is a proven design for re-entering the atmosphere at 25,000 mph.

At least the capsule is supposed to be reusable. That's an improvement if you look at it that way.

Anonymous said...

The shuttles were incredibly expensive to build -- especially given their somewhat limited mission -- and remain incredibly expensive to maintain. And, interestingly, NO U.S. astronauts were ever lost on a flight before Challenger. Fourteen human beings have now died on shuttle flights.

Hopefully, the money saved on construction and maintenance can go towards humanned lunar and Mars expeditions....

--W.M. Bear