Join the Unexplained Mysteries community today! It's free and setting up an account only takes a moment.
- Sign In or Create Account -
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Waspie_Dwarf

Constellation Program - Ares, Orion & Altair

245 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

The Constellation Program


President Bush has directed NASA to retire the space shuttles, build a new spacecraft and return to the Moon. After the return to the moon NASA is directed to place men on Mars.
This thead is for news and views related to this project. As way of an introduction the NASA article on the Vision For Space Exploration is reproduced below:



-----------------------------------------

How We'll Get Back to the Moon



Before the end of the next decade, NASA astronauts will again explore the surface of the moon. And this time, we're going to stay, building outposts and paving the way for eventual journeys to Mars and beyond. There are echoes of the iconic images of the past, but it won't be your grandfather's moon shot.

linked-image
Image above: NASA's new Crew Exploration Vehicle and lander headed for lunar orbit.
Click to enlarge.
Artist's concept by John Frassanito and Associates.


This journey begins soon, with development of a new spaceship. Building on the best of Apollo and shuttle technology, NASA's creating a 21st century exploration system that will be affordable, reliable, versatile, and safe.

The centerpiece of this system is a new spacecraft designed to carry four astronauts to and from the moon, support up to six crewmembers on future missions to Mars, and deliver crew and supplies to the International Space Station.

The new crew vehicle will be shaped like an Apollo capsule, but it will be three times larger, allowing four astronauts to travel to the moon at a time.

The new spacecraft has solar panels to provide power, and both the capsule and the lunar lander use liquid methane in their engines. Why methane? NASA is thinking ahead, planning for a day when future astronauts can convert Martian atmospheric resources into methane fuel.

The new ship can be reused up to 10 times. After the craft parachutes to dry land (with a splashdown as a backup option), NASA can easily recover it, replace the heat shield and launch it again.

Coupled with the new lunar lander, the system sends twice as many astronauts to the surface as Apollo, and they can stay longer, with the initial missions lasting four to seven days. And while Apollo was limited to landings along the moon's equator, the new ship carries enough propellant to land anywhere on the moon's surface.

Once a lunar outpost is established, crews could remain on the lunar surface for up to six months. The spacecraft can also operate without a crew in lunar orbit, eliminating the need for one astronaut to stay behind while others explore the surface.

Safe and reliable

The launch system that will get the crew off the ground builds on powerful, reliable shuttle propulsion elements. Astronauts will launch on a rocket made up of a super-sized shuttle solid rocket booster, with a second stage powered by a J-2X engine, like those used on the Apollo Saturn V rockets.

linked-image
Image above: An engineering concept shows NASA's new heavy lift and crew launch vehicles.
Click to enlarge.
Credit: NASA

+ View Size Compared to Apollo, shuttle


A second, heavy-lift system uses a pair of the longer solid rocket boosters and five core stage engines to put up to 125 metric tons in orbit -- about one and a half times the weight of a shuttle orbiter. This versatile system will be used to carry cargo and to put the components needed to go to the moon and Mars into orbit. The heavy-lift rocket can be modified to carry crew as well.

Best of all, these launch systems are 10 times safer than the shuttle because of an escape rocket on top of the capsule that can quickly blast the crew away if launch problems develop. There's also little chance of damage from launch vehicle debris, since the capsule sits on top of the rocket.

The Flight Plan

In just five years, the new ship will begin to ferry crew and supplies to the International Space Station. Plans call for as many as six trips to the outpost a year. In the meantime, robotic missions will lay the groundwork for lunar exploration. In 2018, humans will return to the moon. Here's how a mission would unfold:

A heavy-lift rocket blasts off, carrying a lunar lander and a "departure stage" needed to leave Earth's orbit (below left). The crew launches separately (below, center), then docks their capsule with the lander and departure stage and heads for the moon (below, right).

linked-image


Three days later, the crew goes into lunar orbit (below, left). The four astronauts climb into the lander, leaving the capsule to wait for them in orbit. After landing and exploring the surface for seven days, the crew blasts off in a portion of the lander (below, center), docks with the capsule and travels back to Earth. After a de-orbit burn, the service module is jettisoned, exposing the heat shield for the first time in the mission. The parachutes deploy, the heat shield is dropped and the capsule sets down on dry land (below, right).



'Into the Cosmos'

With a minimum of two lunar missions per year, momentum will build quickly toward a permanent outpost. Crews will stay longer and learn to exploit the moon's resources, while landers make one way trips to deliver cargo. Eventually, the new system could rotate crews to and from a lunar outpost every six months.

Planners are already looking at the lunar south pole as a candidate for an outpost because of concentrations of hydrogen thought to be in the form of water ice, and an abundance of sunlight to provide power.

linked-image
Image above: Four astronauts could land on the moon in the new lander.
Click to enlarge.
Artist's concept by John Frassanito and Associates.


These plans give NASA a huge head start in getting to Mars. We will already have the heavy-lift system needed to get there, as well as a versatile crew capsule and propulsion systems that can make use of Martian resources. A lunar outpost just three days away from Earth will give us needed practice of "living off the land" away from our home planet, before making the longer trek to Mars.

As President Bush said when he announced the Vision for Space Exploration, "Humans are headed into the cosmos." Now we know how we'll get there.

Source: NASA - The Vision For Space Exploration - NASA's New Spaceship Edited by Waspie_Dwarf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
NASA's Exploration Systems Progress Report


The user posted image press release is reproduced below:

May 18, 2006
Dolores Beasley
Headquarters, Washington
(202) 358-1753

Kim Newton
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.
(256) 544-0034

RELEASE: 06-226

NASA's Exploration Systems Progress Report


NASA has chosen the RS-68 engine to power the core stage of the agency's heavy lift cargo launch vehicle intended to carry large payloads to the moon.

The announcement supersedes NASA's initial decision to use a derivative of the space shuttle main engine as the core stage engine for the heavy lift launch vehicle.

The cargo launch vehicle will serve as NASA's primary vessel for safe, reliable delivery of resources to space. It will carry large-scale hardware and materials for establishing a permanent moon base, as well as food, fresh water and other staples needed to extend a human presence beyond Earth orbit.

Recent studies examining life-cycle cost showed the RS-68 is best suited for NASA's heavy-lift cargo requirements. The decision to change the core stage engine required an increase in the size of the core propulsion stage tank, from a 27.5-foot diameter tank to 33-foot diameter tank, to provide additional propellant required by the five RS-68 engines.

The RS-68 is the most powerful liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen booster in existence, capable of producing 650,000 pounds of thrust at sea level. In contrast, the space shuttle main engine is capable of producing 420,000 pounds of thrust at sea level. The RS-68, upgraded to meet NASA's requirements, will cost roughly $20 million per engine, a dramatic cost savings over the shuttle main engine.

The prime contractor for the RS-68 engine is Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne of Canoga Park, Calif. Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne is the same company that manufactures the shuttle main engine.

The RS-68 is used in the Delta IV launcher, the largest of the Delta rocket family developed in the 1990s by the U.S. Air Force for its evolved expendable launch vehicle program and commercial launch applications.

The cargo launch vehicle effort includes multiple project element teams at NASA centers and contract organizations around the nation and is led by the Exploration Launch Office at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

The project office is part of the Constellation Program led by NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. Constellation is a key program of NASA's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate in Washington.

For information about NASA's exploration efforts, visit:



For information about NASA and agency programs, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/home

- end -

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Source: NASA Press Release 06-226

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

NASA's Exploration Systems Progress Report

user posted image

Image above, left: An RS-68 engine undergoes hot-fire testing at NASA's Stennis Space Center during its developmental phase (Credit: Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne) Image above, right: Concept image of NASA's Cargo Launch Vehicle (NASA/Media Fusion)

NASA has chosen the RS-68 engine to power the core stage of the agency's heavy lift cargo launch vehicle intended to carry large payloads to the moon. The announcement supersedes NASA's initial decision to use a derivative of the space shuttle main engine as the core stage engine for the heavy lift launch vehicle.

The cargo launch vehicle will serve as NASA's primary vessel for safe, reliable delivery of resources to space. It will carry large-scale hardware and materials for establishing a permanent moon base, as well as food, fresh water and other staples needed to extend a human presence beyond Earth orbit.

Source: NASA - The Vision For Space Exploration

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hard-nosed Advice to Lunar Prospectors


A 22-year veteran of prospecting and mining on Earth has some no-nonsense advice for lunar explorers.
Long before David Beaty became associate Chief Scientist for NASA's Mars Program, he was a prospector. Beaty spent 10 years surveying remote parts of Earth for precious metals and another 12 years hunting for oil.

And this qualifies him to work for NASA? Precisely.

Beaty has the kind of experience NASA needs as the agency prepares to implement the Vision for Space Exploration. "Mining and prospecting are going to be key skills for settlers on the Moon and Mars," he explains. "We can send them air and water and fuel from Earth, but eventually, they'll have to learn to live off the land, using local resources to meet their needs."

user posted image
Above: Lunar mining, an artist's concept. [More]

On the Moon, for instance, mission planners hope to find water frozen in the dark recesses of polar craters. Water can be split into hydrogen for rocket fuel and oxygen for breathing. Water is also good for drinking and as a bonus it is one of the best known radiation shields. "In many ways," notes Beaty, "water is key to a sustained human presence." Ice mining on the Moon could become a big industry.

Beaty has learned a lot from his long career prospecting, exploring and mining on Earth. Now, with an eye on other worlds, he has distilled four pieces of wisdom he calls "Dave's Postulates" for prospectors working anywhere in the solar system:

Postulate #1: "Wishful thinking is no substitute for scientific evidence."

"On Earth, banks won't lend money for less than proven reserves. From a bank's viewpoint, anything less than proven is not really there. This lesson has been learned the hard way by many a prospector," he laughs.

For NASA the stakes are higher than profit. The lives of astronauts could hang in the balance. "Proven reserves on the Moon can perhaps be thought of as having enough confidence to risk the lives of astronauts to go after it."

What does it take to "prove" a reserve--that is, to know with confidence that a resource exists in high enough concentration to be produced?

"That depends on the nature of the deposit," explains Beaty. "Searching for oil on Earth, you can drill one hole, measure the pressure and calculate how much oil is there. You know that oil probably exists 100 feet away because liquids flow. However, for gold you must drill holes 100 feet apart, and assay the concentration of gold every five feet down each hole. That's because the solid earth is heterogenous. 100 feet away the rocks may be completely different."

Deposits on the Moon aren't so well understood. Is lunar ice widespread or patchy, deep or shallow? Does it even exist? "We don't know," says Beaty. "We still have a lot to learn."

Postulate #2: "You cannot define a reserve without specifying how it can be extracted. If it can't be mined, it's of no use." Enough said.


Postulate #3: "Perfect knowledge is not possible. Exploration costs money, and we can't afford to buy all the information we want. We have to make choices, deciding what information is critical and what's not."

user posted image
Above: Robotic ice miner, an artist's concept.
Credit: NASA/John Frassanito and Associates.
[Larger image]


He offers the following hypothetical example:

"Suppose we decide to send a robot with a little drill and an onboard laboratory into Shackleton Crater, a place on the Moon with suspected ice deposits. We're going to have to think pretty carefully about that lab. Maybe it can contain only two instruments. What are the two things we most need to know?"

"Suppose further that someone on Earth has invented a machine that can extract water from lunar soil. But it only works if the ice is close to the surface and if the ice is not too salty." The choice is made. "We'd better equip the robot with instruments to measure the saltiness of the ice and its depth in the drill hole."

Finally, Postulate #4: "Don't underestimate the potential effects of heterogeneity. All parts of the Moon are not alike, just as all parts of Earth are not alike. So where you land matters."

Ultimately, says Beaty, if geologists and engineers work together applying these rules as they go, living off the land on alien worlds might not be so hard after all.

More Information

Mining and Manufacturing on the Moon -- an overview

Breathing Moonrocks -- (Science@NASA) The Moon has plentiful oxygen for future astronauts. It's lying on the ground. NASA researchers have developed a device that can extract breathable oxygen from lunar soil.

Moon Water -- (Science@NASA) Come and get it? Some researchers believe there's water on the Moon in reach of human explorers.

Prospecting for Lunar Water -- (Science@NASA) Settling alien worlds is thirsty work


Feature Author: Dr. Tony Phillips
Feature Production Editor: Dr. Tony Phillips
Feature Production Credit: Science@NASA


Source: NASA - The Vision For Space Exploration - Moon, Mars and Beyond

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
NASA Developing New Heat Shield for 'CEV' Spaceship


05.23.06

NASA's new spaceship of the future must endure searing temperatures capable of melting iron, steel or chromium as the spacecraft streaks into the Earth's atmosphere on the way back from the moon.

Faster than the fastest bullet, the spaceship – called the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) – will enter Earth's atmosphere at 6.8 miles (11 kilometers) per second, generating surface temperatures equivalent to more than 4,800 degrees Fahrenheit (2,649 degrees Celsius.)

To illustrate how hot that is, rapidly rubbing your hands together generates warmth. In contrast, a speeding space vehicle creates not just warmth, but tremendous heat, due to friction between the air and surface of the spaceship as it moves at mind-boggling speed. The new CEV spaceship will need an excellent heat shield able to tolerate much higher temperatures than even the space shuttle can bear.

user posted image
Image above: Thermal protection system (TPS) material coupon undergoing test at 1000 W/cm^2.

The shuttle enters the atmosphere at lesser speeds, 4.7 miles (7.5 kilometers) per second, generating a lower maximum temperature of 2,900 degrees Fahrenheit (1,593 degrees Celsius) -- still hot enough to melt nickel and iron. The crew vehicle will see temperatures of as much as 3,400 degrees Fahrenheit (1,871 degrees Celsius) when re-entering from low-Earth orbit. The length of spacecraft re-entries is also a variable. Because re-entry times vary, the duration of these periods also affect how a heat shield reacts to high temperatures.

Scientists and engineers at NASA Ames Research Center, located in California's Silicon Valley, are leading NASA's CEV advanced heat shield development effort. It is officially called the Thermal Protection System Advanced Development Project (TPS ADP).

The advanced heat shield development team includes engineers not only from NASA Ames, but NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston; NASA Kennedy Space Center, Fla.; NASA Langley Research Center, Va.; NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.; and NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio. The advanced heat shield work is part of a NASA-wide, cooperative endeavor, called the Constellation Program, jointly conducted to develop a new set of spaceships and launch vehicles to carry tomorrow's astronauts into space. The final flight version of the heat shield and ancillary support systems will be designed and manufactured by the CEV prime contractor when that contract is awarded.

"We don't know what the final (advanced heat shield) material will be until the testing and analysis is complete," said George Sarver, manager of Ames' CEV/ Crew Launch Vehicle (CLV) Support Project. According to Sarver, NASA must complete the advanced heat shield development work by 2009 in order to be ready for CEV's first flight that possibly could be in 2012, but no later than 2014.

"Because of the short amount of time that we have to develop the CEV, we're only testing and analyzing materials that we know can tolerate the heat rates present during a lunar return mission," said James Reuther, who is based at NASA Ames and who is the agency's project manager for TPS (heat shield) advanced development work. Heat rate is the amount of heat energy transmitted to a material in a given time. Only a few materials can tolerate the higher heat rates needed for lunar return, according to Reuther.

NASA is working to create a Frisbee-shaped heat shield 16.5 feet (5 meters) in diameter that can be manufactured in one piece. It will be attached to the base of the CEV's cone-shaped crew capsule. The shield must protect the capsule during both low-Earth-orbit returns and very fast moon-mission re-entries into Earth's atmosphere, when it carries astronauts back home.

Comparing the amount of thermal protection that the space shuttle needs with what the new CEV spaceship will require, Reuther noted that engineers designed the shuttle only to come back from low Earth orbit, which is about 150 to 250 miles up. "However, it's not really the altitude that matters, but, instead, the velocity at which the vehicle enters the Earth's atmosphere," he noted.

"The difference between 7.5 kilometers per second (shuttle re-entry speed from low-Earth orbit) and 11 kilometers per second (CEV capsule re-entry speed from the moon) translates into a factor of five in increase of heat rate (for the CEV)," Reuther explained.

user posted image
Image above: Model instrumentation setup in the NASA Ames Interaction Heating Facility (IHF) arc jet.

"The material's temperature has nothing to do with the performance," Reuther observed. "The surface temperature at a given heat rate is completely material-dependant," he added.

"Most of these TPS (advanced heat shield) materials have only been tested in small, hockey-puck-sized samples -- about four inches in diameter," Reuther said. "Unfortunately, because the heat shield we need for the CEV will be five meters in diameter, more than arc jet testing will be required to validate the design," he said.

Two large NASA 'arc jets,' equivalent to room-size blowtorches cooled by thousands of water lines, are helping scientists and engineers at NASA Ames and NASA Johnson test advanced heat shield materials that may be used in the CEV's heat shield.

"The temperatures are high enough (during a CEV capsule's return from the moon in the final part of the flight through Earth's atmosphere) that you have to go to what's called an ablating material," said John Balboni, a NASA Ames engineer who works with the Ames arc jet facility. "An ablating material is designed to slowly . . . burn away in a controlled fashion, and in a way in which this ablation actually carries away some of the heat from the surface and protects (it) from the superheated gases on top," he explained.

Engineers say that it is difficult to predict a material's temperature during re-entry because the temperature depends on how the particular material ablates or burns. "The real key to understanding the performance capability of a candidate material is to subject it to the expected heat rate CEV will see on (a) return trip from the moon," Reuther observed.

Ames' arc jet, known as the Interaction Heating Facility (IHF), is where CEV advanced heat shield material tests are being conducted. IHF is the largest arc jet facility of its kind in the United States; a similar size facility is located in Italy. The Ames arc jet, in combination with an arc jet at NASA Johnson Space Center, can simulate the range of expected heat rates that the CEV capsule will encounter while re-entering Earth's atmosphere.

Both NASA arc jets have a long history that includes testing thermal protection systems for all NASA space vehicles. The Ames arc jet uses up to 60 megawatts of electrical power, and can focus a large amount of heat energy onto a sample of heat shield material. Despite, the arc jet's size and ability to use a huge amount of electrical power, the Ames facility can test only 'coupons,' or small panels of material that might be used in the new CEV advanced heat shield.

"When you walk into the Arc Jet Laboratory (at NASA Ames), you'll see about a room-sized version of a blowtorch," Balboni said. "It sits flat on a bench. It's surrounded by thousands of water hoses - water being used to cool the heating device because the temperatures are very, very high. The temperatures are two to three times as high as the surface of the sun," he added.

According to Balboni, the apparatus shoots hot gas into a large vacuum chamber, "one that, after a test, you can open a door and walk into. But during a test, it's closed up. It's evacuated by a gigantic vacuum pumping system. So, (during a test) hot, superheated gas (flows) into a vacuum (chamber), and that's where the test then occurs because the vacuum is used to simulate very high altitudes at which the heating occurs," Balboni continued.

user posted image
Image above: Teflon calibration coupon in the NASA Ames Interaction Heating Facility (IHF) (top view) at 1000 W/cm^2.

Thermal arc jet testing will subject material samples "to simulated entry (into Earth's atmosphere) over a period from seconds all the way up to several minutes or even as long as for half an hour," according to Balboni. "These materials are then heated in (a way that closely approximates) the way that they'll be heated when they're flying through the atmosphere. And in that way, the engineers have the right data to design that heat shield so that you have confidence that it's going to protect the spacecraft from those severe temperatures, and it will survive the entire heating environment."

"This summer, we will be issuing contracts to TPS (heat shield) material providers for the production of manufacturing demonstration units (MDUs) of the heat shield at full scale," Reuther said. Companies will take about one year to make the demonstration units, according to engineers.

"We will have multiple contractors producing the manufacturing demonstration units as well as the material samples needed for further, more exhaustive arc jet testing," Reuther said. "While the MDUs are being built, we will be performing thermal, structural and environmental testing over a wide range of conditions."

Structural testing will involve bending and tension tests, as well as vibration and acoustic testing. The vibration and acoustic, or sound tests, simulate the extreme conditions experienced during launch. Environmental testing will include thermal-vacuum tests that simulate the CEV orbiting Earth and cycling from the cold of night to the heat of day.

Current plans call for full-size manufactured demonstration heat shield units to be shipped to NASA Kennedy Space Center for evaluation. Engineers will conduct various non-destructive tests to assess the quality of construction of the heat shield units.

"We're doing this advanced development under the direction of the Crew Exploration Project at NASA Johnson Space Center," noted Sarver. "NASA's expertise in the field of thermal protection, across all of NASA's centers, is world class," Sarver concluded.

To see publication-quality images related to this story, please visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/centers/ames/multimedia/images/2006/cev_arcjet.html

To read a transcript or listen to an interview about the NASA Ames Arc Jet, please visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/centers/ames/multimedia/audio/2005/arcjet.html

For more information about NASA, please visit:

http://www.nasa.gov


John Bluck
NASA Ames Research Center
Mail Stop 943-4
Moffett Field, CA 94035-1000
Phone: (650) 604-5026
E-mail: jbluck@mail.arc.nasa.gov


Source: NASA / Ames Research Center - Research

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The Sky is Falling

Every day, more than a metric ton of meteoroids hits the Moon


Up on the Moon, the sky is falling.


"Every day, more than a metric ton of meteoroids hits the Moon," says Bill Cooke of the Marshall Space Flight Center's Meteoroid Environment Office. They literally fall out of the sky, in all shapes and sizes, from specks of comet dust to full-blown asteroids, traveling up to a hundred thousand mph. And when they hit, they do not disintegrate harmlessly in the atmosphere as most would on Earth. On the airless Moon, meteoroids hit the ground.

user posted image
Above: The Moon's surface is peppered with impact craters.

Apollo astronauts were never bothered by these projectiles. The Moon has a surface area roughly equal to the continent of Africa. "If you spread the impacts over so much terrain, the probability of being hit is very low," says Cooke. It helped that the astronauts didn't stay long: Adding all Apollo missions together, they were on the lunar surface less than two weeks. "The odds of being hit during such a short time were, again, very low."

But what about next time? Following the Vision for Space Exploration, NASA is sending astronauts back to the Moon to stay longer and build bigger bases (read: bigger targets) than Apollo astronauts ever did. The odds of something precious being hit will go up. Should NASA be worried?

That's what Cooke and MSFC colleague Anne Diekmann are trying to find out.

The truth is, "we really don't know how many meteoroids hit the Moon every day," he says. "Our best estimates come from the 'Standard Meteoroid Model,' which NASA uses to evaluate hazards to the space station and the space shuttle." Problem: The Standard Model is based mainly on Earth-data, e.g., satellite observations of meteoroids hitting Earth's upper atmosphere and human observations of meteors flitting across the night sky. "The Standard Model may not work well for the Moon."

For lunar purposes, "we need more data," says Cooke. Fortunately, there are more data. It comes from Apollo:

Clues to how often and how hard the Moon is hit lie in data from four seismometers placed on the Moon by the Apollo 12, 14, 15, and 16 missions during 1969-72. They operated until NASA turned them off in 1977. For years, the seismometers recorded all manner of tremors and jolts, including almost 3000 moonquakes, 1700 meteoroid strikes, and 9 spacecraft deliberately crashed into the Moon. All these data were transmitted to Earth for analysis.

user posted image
Above: Buzz Aldrin deploys a seismometer in the Sea of Tranquillity. [More]

"Here's what's interesting," says Cooke. "Of some 12,000 events recorded by the seismometers, less than half have been explained by known phenomena. There are thousands of tremors caused by ... no one knows what."

He has a hunch: "Many of them may be meteoroid impacts."

"Apollo scientists were very bright," says Cooke, "but they didn't have the benefit of modern computers. We do." Cooke and Diekmann are now loading the old seismic data into machines at the MSFC where they can perform digital calculations at speeds impossible 30 years ago, rapidly trying new algorithms to find previously unrecognized impacts.

Critical to the analysis are nine man-made impacts. "NASA deliberately crashed some spacecraft into the Moon while the seismometers were operating," he explains. "They were the empty ascent stages of four lunar modules (Apollo 12, 14, 15 and 17) and the SIV-B stages of five Saturn rockets (Apollo 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17)." Their seismic waveforms tell researchers what an impact should look like.

user posted image
Above: A seismic waveform recorded when Apollo 12's lunar ascent module crashed into the Moon on Nov. 20, 1969. [More]

Also, in 1972, a 1,100 kg (2,400 lb) asteroid hit the Moon just north of Mare Nubium, the Sea of Clouds. It was a major impact recorded at all four seismic stations. "When we look at the seismic waveform of that asteroid," says Cooke, "we see that it has the same characteristics as the man-made impacts--a good sign that we know what we're doing."

Cooke and Diekmann will hunt for impacts in the Apollo seismic records using these known waveforms as a reference. In theory, they should be able to pick out tremors from objects as small as 10 centimeters (4 inches), weighing as little as 1 kg (2.2 lb). "Four inches doesn't sound like much, but traveling at cosmic velocities, a four-inch meteoroid can blast a crater as wide as your desk."

According to the Standard Model, such meteoroids hit the Moon approximately 400 times a year--more than once a day. (Picture a map of Africa stuck with 400 pushpins.) The Apollo seismic dataset can test that prediction and many others.

The analysis is just beginning. "We hope to find many impacts," he says. Regardless of the final numbers, however, their work will have value. "We're developing new algorithms to find meteoroid impacts in seismic data." Eventually, Cooke believes, next-generation seismometers will be placed on the Moon and Mars to monitor quakes and impacts, and when the data start pouring in, "we'll be ready."

More Information

An Explosion on the Moon -- (Science@NASA) NASA scientists watched a 5-inch meteoroid hit the Moon and explode in November 2005

Moonquakes -- (Science@NASA) the Apollo Seismic Network discovered a powerful kind of tremor called "shallow moonquakes."


Feature Author: Dr. Tony Phillips
Feature Production Editor: Dr. Tony Phillips
Feature Production Credit: Science@NASA


Source: NASA - The Vision For Space Exploration - Moon, Mars and Beyond

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
NASA Announces Distribution of Constellation Work


The user posted image press release is reproduced below:

June 5, 2006
Dolores Beasley/Michael Braukus
Headquarters, Washington
202-358-1753/1979

Kim Newton
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.
(256) 544-0034

RELEASE: 06-233

NASA Announces Distribution of Constellation Work


NASA announced Monday agency center responsibilities associated with the Constellation Program for robotic and human moon and Mars exploration.

This distribution of work across NASA's centers reflects the agency's intention to productively use personnel, facilities and resources from across the agency to accomplish the Vision for Space Exploration.

"Our past experiences have provided the foundation to begin shaping the space exploration capabilities needed to create a sustained presence on the moon and on to Mars," said Scott Horowitz, associate administrator for NASA's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate. "Our programs and projects are evolving as we develop the requirements to execute the Vision for Space Exploration. At the same time we are aligning the work that needs to be accomplished with the capabilities of our NASA centers."

In addition to primary work assignments each center will support moon and Mars surface systems conceptual designs. Centers also support additional Constellation program and project activities. Center assignments:

Ames Research Center, Moffett Field Calif., leads the crew exploration vehicle (CEV) Thermal Protection System Advanced Development Project. Ames is developing information systems to support the Constellation Program Safety, Reliability and Quality Assurance Office.

Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif., leads CEV Abort Flight Test integration and operations including Abort Test Booster procurement and integration with the Flight Test Article.

Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, leads the CEV Service Module and Spacecraft Adapter integration, providing oversight and independent analysis of the prime contractor's development of these segments. Glenn has lead responsibility for the design and development of several crew launch vehicle (CLV) upper stage systems.

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., provides co-leadership of the Constellation Program's System Engineering and Integration navigation team and software and avionics team.

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., leads a multi-center activity in support of the Mission Operations Project to plan systems engineering processes related to operations development and preparation. JPL provides co-leadership for the Constellation Program Office Systems Engineering and Integration Software and Avionics team.

Johnson Space Center, Houston, host the Constellation Program, the CEV Project and the Mission Operations Project. The Constellation Program manages and integrates the program and all projects. The CEV Project Office manages and integrates all CEV elements including prime contractor work. The Mission Operations Project manages and integrates all activities related to mission operations.

Kennedy Space Center, Fla., hosts the Ground Operations Project. The project manages all activities related to ground operations for the launch and landing sites, including ground processing, launch, and recovery systems.

Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va., leads Launch Abort System integration supporting the CEV Project, providing oversight and independent analysis of the CEV prime contractor's development of the system. Langley leads the Command Module Landing System Advanced Development Project for CEV. Langley provides vehicle integration and CEV test article module development for the CLV Advanced Development Flight Test-0.

Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala., hosts the Constellation Launch Vehicle projects. The projects are responsible for project management of all CLV and cargo launch vehicle related activities. Marshall provides the CLV first stage design, and is responsible for launch vehicle demonstration testing including the Advanced Development Flight Test-0.

Stennis Space Center, Miss., manages and integrates rocket propulsion testing for the CLV Project. Stennis leads sea-level development, certification, and acceptance testing for the upper stage engine, sea-level development testing for the upper stage main propulsion test article, and sea-level acceptance testing for the flight upper stage assembly.

While these decisions will result in budget and personnel allocations at the centers, detailed estimates will not be available until after prime contractors are formally selected for the program's major projects, such as the crew exploration vehicle, crew launch vehicle and cargo launch vehicle. For information about the Constellation Program and a detailed listing of the work assignments at each the center, visit:



For information about NASA and agency programs, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/home

- end -

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Source: NASA Press Release 06-233

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
NASA Announces Engine Development Contract


The user posted image press release is reproduced below:

June 5, 2006
Dolores Beasley
Headquarters, Washington
202-358-1753

Kim Newton
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.
256-544-0034

CONTRACT RELEASE: C06-032

NASA Announces Engine Development Contract


NASA has awarded Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, Inc. of Canoga Park, Calif., a letter contract with a maximum value of $50 million to initiate design, development, test and evaluation of the J-2X engine for the agency's crew and cargo launch vehicles.

The letter cost reimbursement contract runs from June 2 through November 30. It will initiate conceptual design; procurement of long lead items; provide integration of the engine with the launch vehicles and support associated vehicle reviews. There is a Systems Requirements Review scheduled for September and a Systems Design Review in October.

The J-2X engine is planned to power the crew launch vehicle's upper stage and the Earth departure stage of the cargo launch vehicle. Development of the crew and cargo launch vehicles is led by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., in partnership with other agency centers. It is managed by the Constellation Program Office at NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston, for the agency's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate.

For information about development of the crew and cargo launch vehicles, visit:



For information about NASA and agency programs, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/home

- end -

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Source: NASA Contract Release C06-032

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Building NASA's New Spacecraft: Constellation Work Assignments


06.05.06

NASA's Project Constellation is getting to work on the new spacecraft that will return humans to the moon and blaze a trail to Mars and beyond. Thousands of people across the agency are pulling together to meet this challenge, with work assignments that will sustain ten healthy and productive centers.

user posted image
Image above: An Earth Departure Stage, docked to the Crew Exploration
Vehicle, fires its engine to leave Earth's orbit. Click to enlarge.
Credit: NASA/John Frassanito and Associates


Each NASA center is playing a vital role in making the Vision for Space Exploration a reality:

Ames Research Center, Moffet Field, Calif.
NASA Ames will be the lead for development of thermal protection systems and information technology for NASA's exploration effort. This responsibility includes developing the heat shield and aeroshell for the new spaceship called the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV). + Read More

They're also leading the development of the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, which will launch with the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter in 2008 and crash into the lunar south pole to search for water ice.+ Read More

Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif.
Dryden will lead the abort flight test integration and operations for the CEV. The center will support abort systems tests, drop tests, landing and recovery tests, flight re-entry and landing profiles and range safety.
+ Dryden Center Site

user posted image
Image above: Components of the Crew Exploration Vehicle.
Credit: NASA


Glenn Research Center, Cleveland
Glenn will manage the work on the CEV's service module, which will provide maneuvering with its propulsion system, generate power using solar arrays, and keep the vehicle cool with heat rejection radiators. Glenn is also the lead for the upper stage of the Crew Launch Vehicle.
+ Glenn Center Site

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
Goddard has responsibility for communications, tracking and support mechanisms for the CEV. The center will also continue its work on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission, set to launch in October 2008.
+ Goddard Center Site

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
JPL leads a multi-center activity in support of the Mission Operations Project to plan systems engineering processes related to operations development and preparation. JPL also provides co-leadership for the Constellation Program Office Systems Engineering and Integration Software and Avionics team.
+ JPL Center Site

Johnson Space Center, Houston
Johnson, home to NASA's astronaut corps and mission control, is managing the Constellation Program. The center will integrate the CEV, Crew Launch and Cargo Launch Vehicles for all mission operations. JSC is the lead for the crew module, and will provide flight operations support to the Crew Launch Vehicle. As with Shuttle program and Apollo before, JSC will plan missions, train crews and run mission control.
+ Johnson Center Site

Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
Kennedy will continue its tradition of launching NASA's explorers into space. KSC hosts the Ground Operations Project, which manages all activities related to ground operations for the launch and landing sites, including ground processing, launch, and recovery systems.
+ Kennedy Center Site

user posted image
Image above: The Crew Launch Vehicle, top, and the Cargo Launch Vehicle.
Credit: NASA/John Frassanito and Associates
+ Full Resolution Crew Launch
+ Full Resolution Cargo Launch


Langley Research Center, Hampton Roads, Va.
Langley leads Launch Abort System integration supporting the CEV Project, providing oversight and independent analysis of the system's development. Langley also leads the Command Module Landing System Advanced Development Project and will support CEV testing.
+ Langley Center Site

Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.
Marshall hosts the Constellation Launch Vehicle projects, responsible for managing all Crew Launch and Cargo Launch Vehicle related activities. Marshall will design the Crew Launch Vehicle's first stage and is responsible for launch vehicle testing.
+ Marshall Center Site

Stennis Space Center, Miss.
By building on more than 40 years of experience in rocket propulsion testing, Stennis will continue to serve in its traditional test role, serving as the integration lead for all propulsion testing. The first rocket engine to be tested will be the J-2X, an engine similar to those tested at the center 40 years ago for the Apollo Saturn V rockets. In the Constellation Program, the J-2X will be used to power the Upper Stage of the Crew Launch Vehicle.
+ Stennis Center Site


Source: NASA - The Vision For Space Exploration - NASA's New Spaceships

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Exploration Systems Progress Report


The user posted image press release is reproduced below:

June 26, 2006
Dolores Beasley/Mike Braukus
Headquarters, Washington
Phone: (202) 358-1600/1979

RELEASE: 06-249

Exploration Systems Progress Report


NASA engineers are in the midst of a new series of tests that will aid development of the agency's future space transportation systems.

The tests support development and integration of the Crew Launch Vehicle, Crew Exploration Vehicle and Cargo Launch Vehicle under the Constellation Program. The program is developing both crew and launch vehicles for NASA's plan to return humans to the moon, Mars and destinations beyond.

Since June, engineers at the Marshall Space Flight Center's Aerodynamic Research Facility in Huntsville, Ala., have conducted 80 wind-tunnel runs on a partial model of the Crew Launch Vehicle. The model includes a portion of the upper stage, the spacecraft adapter, the Crew Exploration Vehicle and the launch abort system. The abort system is designed to lift the crew clear of the propulsion stack before or during launch in the event of an emergency.

The tests use a 13-inch-long, 1.5 percent scale model in a 14-by-14-inch cross section wind tunnel to simulate how proposed vehicle shapes perform in flight. In the test tunnel, giant fans or high-pressure air generate artificial wind that flows over scale-model vehicles, engines or rockets through a wide speed range. The tests are being conducted between Mach 0.8 and Mach 4.45, or about 600 to 3,300 miles an hour. Engineers use this flow visualization to analyze shock waves and flow expansion characteristics of components before their designs are incorporated into space hardware.

This series is the latest step in a progression of wind tunnel tests that began in February. They are part of a coordinated partnership among NASA field centers and industry to set the foundation for design and development of the Crew Exploration Vehicle and Crew Launch Vehicle as an integrated system. This partnership includes Marshall; Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va.; Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.; and Boeing at St. Louis, Mo.

Additional configuration tests are planned through July in the wind tunnel at Marshall. Those tests will serve as a foundation for more detailed launch vehicle design testing in the fall.

Engineers at Marshall also have completed preliminary tests of an "augmented spark igniter," a critical engine component needed for in-flight ignition of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants that mix and burn in engine combustion chambers.

The test apparatus and a similar igniter will be used in development of the J-2X upper stage engine, an updated version of the powerful engine used to power the Saturn V rocket upper stages during the Apollo Program. The J-2X is planned for use in both the Crew Launch Vehicle's upper stage and the Cargo Launch Vehicle's Earth Departure Stage. The dual-use J-2X engine is an example of common hardware designed to simplify ground processing and reduce recurring operation costs.

During the igniter tests, engineers integrated the igniter assembly – spark plugs, propellant injectors and tube-like ignition torch – and fired it into a vacuum chamber. This simulated the conditions the Crew Launch Vehicle's upper stage will experience when activated in low-Earth orbit. Future tests will chill propellants to minus 260 degrees Fahrenheit prior to injection to simulate conditions between Earth and the moon, where the J-2X will be used to power the Earth Departure Stage.

Preliminary analysis showed the test igniter operated as expected. Detailed analysis is continuing.

Crew Launch Vehicle and Cargo Launch Vehicle development efforts include multiple project element teams at NASA centers and contract organizations around the nation. These efforts are led by the agency's Exploration Launch Projects Office at Marshall. The office is part of the Constellation Program, hosted by NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston. Constellation is a key program of NASA's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate in Washington.

For information about NASA's exploration efforts on the Web, visit:



For information about NASA and agency programs, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/home

- end -

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Source: NASA Press Release 06-249

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
NASA's Exploration Systems Progress Report


NASA announced on Friday the names of the next generation of launch vehicles that will return humans to the moon and later take them to Mars and other destinations. The crew launch vehicle will be called Ares I, and the cargo launch vehicle will be known as Ares V.

Ares Video:
+ Windows Low | + Windows High
+ RealPlayer Low | + RealPlayer High

user posted image
Image above: The Ares-V (left) and Ares-I.
Credit: NASA

+ View Expanded Views of Ares-I, Ares-V (1.3 Mb PDF)
View Fact Sheets: + Ares I (1.4 Mb PDF) | + Ares V (4.6 Mb PDF)


"It's appropriate that we named these vehicles Ares, which is a pseudonym for Mars," said Scott Horowitz, associate administrator for NASA's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate, Washington. "We honor the past with the number designations and salute the future with a name that resonates with NASA's exploration mission."

The "I and V" designations pay homage to the Apollo program's Saturn I and Saturn V rockets, the first large U.S. space vehicles conceived and developed specifically for human spaceflight.

The crew exploration vehicle, which will succeed the space shuttle as NASA's spacecraft for human space exploration, will be named later. This vehicle will be carried into space by Ares I, which uses a single five-segment solid rocket booster, a derivative of the space shuttle's solid rocket booster, for the first stage. A liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen J-2X engine derived from the J-2 engine used on Apollo's second stage will power the crew exploration vehicle's second stage. The Ares I can lift more than 55,000 pounds to low Earth orbit.

Ares V, a heavy lift launch vehicle, will use five RS-68 liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen engines mounted below a larger version of the space shuttle's external tank, and two five-segment solid propellant rocket boosters for the first stage. The upper stage will use the same J-2X engine as the Ares I. The Ares V can lift more than 286,000 pounds to low Earth orbit and stands approximately 360 feet tall. This versatile system will be used to carry cargo and the components into orbit needed to go to the moon and later to Mars.


Source: NASA - The Vision For Space Exploration - NASA's New Spaceships

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
NASA Awards Contracts for Constellation Program Study


The user posted image press release is reproduced below:

July 26, 2006
Dolores Beasley/Michael Braukus
Headquarters, Washington
Phone: 202-358-1753/1979

Bruce Buckingham
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
Phone: 321-867-2468

CONTRACT RELEASE: C06-041

NASA Awards Contracts for Constellation Program Study


NASA has awarded a 90-day study contract to four space-related companies to separately examine long-term ground processing and infrastructure planning for the agency's Constellation Program.

The contractor teams are expected to provide a wealth of knowledge and experience during the study phase to support ground systems and operations planning through 2030, including missions supporting the International Space Station, lunar exploration and Mars exploration.

Contract awardees are: ATK Launch Systems Group, Corrine, Utah; Boeing Space Operations Co., Titusville, Fla.; Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Littleton, Colo., and United Space Alliance, Houston. The awards are limited to $150,000 per contract.

Study recommendations will be considered in NASA's Kennedy Space Center's planning for the Ares I crew launch vehicle, Ares V cargo launch vehicle operations and crew exploration vehicle processing. The contracts, which should be completed in October, were awarded in response to the Constellation ground operations Broad Agency Announcement Request for Proposal issued in April.

"NASA's intent is to include industry in our planning phase to get a broad perspective of ground operations, especially for the long-term," said Pepper Phillips, deputy director of the Constellation Project Office at Kennedy. "These four companies will provide several possible solutions to the same challenges, which we expect to benefit our planning. Selecting ground processing and launch concepts are long-term commitments and we want to consider all options."

For information about NASA's exploration efforts, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/exploration

- end -

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Source: NASA Contract Release C06-041

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
NASA's Exploration Systems Progress Report


The user posted image press release is reproduced below:

July 27, 2006
Michael Braukus
Headquarters, Washington
Phone: 202- 358-1979

Kelly Humphries
Johnson Space Center, Houston
Phone: 281- 483-5111

RELEASE: 06-273

NASA's Exploration Systems Progress Report


NASA engineers around the country recently completed tests associated with rocket engines, heat protection systems and spacesuits destined for use in the Constellation Program of moon and Mars missions.

Engineers at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala., completed an early step in developing the upper-stage rocket engine that will be used in both the Ares I crew launch vehicle and the Ares V cargo launch vehicle.

The Marshall team completed the first series of tests on a scaled-down version of main injector hardware, which will inject and mix liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants in the engine combustion chamber, where they are ignited and burned to produce thrust.

The initial tests were performed on a hardware model, approximately 1/13th the thrust level of a full-scale J-2 engine injector, that contained 40 individual elements for propellant flow. The injector was fired horizontally with varying fuel temperatures and different propellant mixture ratios for 10 to 20 seconds at a thrust of approximately 20,000 pounds. Approximately 50 tests are planned for this series.

These tests will help engineers investigate design options for, and maximize performance of, the J-2X upper stage engine, an updated version of the powerful J-2 engine used to launch the Saturn V rocket upper stages during Apollo.

At Johnson Space Center, Houston, recent tests focused on materials that could be used to protect the Crew Exploration Vehicle when it makes its fiery descent through the atmosphere on the way home to Earth.

Engineers used an arcjet facility capable of simulating re-entry temperatures to test eight tile samples. Four tests evaluated the performance of LI-2200, a dense silica fiber tile that has been used on the belly of the space shuttle to protect it during atmospheric re-entry. Also tested was the BRI-18, which flew for the first time this month on parts of the Space Shuttle Discovery. The BRI-18 is a stronger tile that can be protected with a more durable coating for better protection against damage from debris.

Also in Houston, astronauts and other personnel practiced walking back to base from a stranded moon rover to test basic spacesuit requirements for use in designing the first new spacesuit for use on the moon since Apollo. These suits will need to be more comfortable and durable than earlier spacesuits since the next lunar explorers will be staying on the surface for longer periods, eventually up to six months at a time, and conducting more scientific research and construction tasks than ever attempted in Apollo.

The tests used an advanced spacesuit in simulated lunar and Mars conditions, one-sixth and one-third Earth's gravity respectively. Using a treadmill and wearing a spacesuit designed to test various components, seven people completed the tests at speeds ranging from 2.75 to 5.5 mph. In all, the subjects covered 61.25 miles, more than the total 59.6 miles covered by all 12 Apollo moon walkers.

At Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Miss., test conductors fired an Integrated Powerhead Demonstration engine at the 100-percent power level for the first time. The engine is a ground demonstrator engine combining the very latest in rocket engine propulsion technologies.

The engine uses liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen. It is being developed and tested as a re-usable engine system, capable of up to 200 flights. The project is a combined effort by Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne, Inc. Canoga Park, Calif., and Aerojet, Sacramento, Calif., under the program direction of the Air Force Research Laboratory, Edwards, Calif., and technical direction of Marshall.

Constellation's Ares I and Ares V launch vehicle project includes teams at NASA and organizations around the nation. The project is led by the agency's Exploration Launch Projects office at Marshall. The Constellation Program Office and Crew Exploration Vehicle Project Office are hosted by the Johnson Space Center.

For information about NASA's exploration efforts, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/exploration

- end -

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Source: NASA Press Release 06-273

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Something Old, Something New, On the Way to Mars


With the enthusiasm of a scoutmaster and the credentials of a rocket scientist, Steve Cook, project manager for NASA's massive Ares I and Ares V space booster rockets, eagerly laid out NASA's plan to send humans to Mars and return them safely. At a July 24 presentation at EAA AirVenture 2006 in Oshkosh, Wis., Cook described NASA's response to the President's vision for space exploration, articulated in 2004.

user posted image
Image left: Steve Cook, NASA's Ares project manager, described the next generation of space exploration rockets to an audience in Oshkosh, Wis. on July 24.
(Photo by Frederick A. Johnsen)


A Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) space capsule, looking a lot like an enlarged Apollo capsule, will ride into Earth orbit atop a rocket christened Ares I. Meanwhile, the rest of 550 tons of cargo needed to complete a rocket capable of going to Mars will be hefted into Earth orbit by the massive Ares V. Once mated over the Earth, the combination will head for Mars on a six-month journey that will be the ultimate reality show for the astronauts involved, Cook commented. To give the explorers more elbow room on the long trip, NASA may come up with an inflatable crew quarters section.

The Ares I rocket will stand 321 feet tall; Ares V stretches to 358 feet, and the classic Apollo Saturn V stood 364 feet above ground. The Ares rockets will use the same Vehicle Assembly Building built for Apollo and converted for the space shuttles at Kennedy Space Center. The heritage trail goes on, as Ares will launch from Pad 39-B, another famed Apollo landmark later adapted for space shuttles. And this reunion of super-heroes continues, as outsize sections of the Ares rockets will be ferried aboard NASA's Super Guppy aircraft, modified in the 1960s with a bulbous fuselage to carry pieces of the Saturn V.

Ares I will use a lengthened version of the shuttle's current solid rocket booster motor as its first stage. As with the shuttle, this booster will fall away when spent, lowered by parachute into the Atlantic Ocean where it can be retrieved for re-use. Unlike the shuttle, the booster will be flying faster, at Mach 6, when its separation from the rest of Ares I occurs. Cook said this makes it imperative to impart a tumble to the booster casing, or it will overheat on one side from friction as it falls back toward the sea. The second stage of Ares I will be a derivative of a Saturn V rocket motor, now called J-2X.

Ares V will be another beneficiary of space shuttle technology, strapping on two of the solid rocket boosters originally developed for the shuttle. For the Ares project, the solid rocket propellant will be shaped differently inside the rocket tube to obtain optimum combustion characteristics for the Ares missions, Cook explained. Ares V will also incorporate the largest liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen rocket stage ever created, he said.

With only 33 months until the planned launch date of first test Ares I – not long in rocket development terms – Cook says the emphasis is on using proven, robust components. In a few cases, that has even involved reverse-engineering Apollo-era rocket valves when original drawings could not be located. "This is about rebuilding our capability industrially," Cook told his EAA audience. He reminded the crowd that the Ares and Crew Exploration Vehicle combination represent only the second American effort to create a vehicle capable of leaving low earth orbit; the other was Apollo.

While Mars is a goal, the Moon is considered a vital steppingstone on the way, Cook said. New lunar explorers will arrive four at a time in the CEV. Back when Apollo's three-person crews went to the moon, only two could reach the lunar surface, with the third remaining in lunar orbit for their return. In the future, the CEV promises to take four astronauts to the moon, with all of them landing there. The Moon will enable explorers to test the capability to remain on another planetary body for weeks at a time, says Cook. Scientists already look forward to an increased ability to land anywhere on the Moon, unlike the limited Apollo capability. One benefit could be the placement of telescopes on the dark side of the moon, peering deeper into space, Cook said.

Steve Cook has a tall order to fill. After Ares I proves itself in 2009, it is supposed to heft the CEV by 2014 if not sooner, with humans returning to the Moon by 2020. The goal is to extend human presence across the solar system and beyond. This will be accomplished with a coordinated use of human and robotic missions. And men and women like NASA's Steve Cook will make it happen.

Because they really are rocket scientists.

By Frederick A. Johnsen
NASA Public Affairs


Source: NASA - Life on Earth - Improving Flight

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
NASA Names New Crew Exploration Vehicle Orion


The user posted image press release is reproduced below:

Aug. 22, 2006
Michael Braukus/Beth Dickey
Headquarters, Washington
202-358-1979/2087

Kelly Humphries
Johnson Space Center, Houston
281-483-5111

RELEASE: 06-299

NASA Names New Crew Exploration Vehicle Orion


NASA announced Tuesday that its new crew exploration vehicle will be named Orion.

Orion is the vehicle NASA’s Constellation Program is developing to carry a new generation of explorers back to the moon and later to Mars. Orion will succeed the space shuttle as NASA's primary vehicle for human space exploration.

Orion's first flight with astronauts onboard is planned for no later than 2014 to the International Space Station. Its first flight to the moon is planned for no later than 2020.

Orion is named for one of the brightest, most familiar and easily identifiable constellations.

"Many of its stars have been used for navigation and guided explorers to new worlds for centuries," said Orion Project Manager Skip Hatfield. "Our team, and all of NASA - and, I believe, our country - grows more excited with every step forward this program takes. The future for space exploration is coming quickly."

In June, NASA announced the launch vehicles under development by the Constellation Program have been named Ares, a synonym for Mars. The booster that will launch Orion will be called Ares I, and a larger heavy-lift launch vehicle will be known as Ares V.

Orion will be capable of transporting cargo and up to six crew members to and from the International Space Station. It can carry four crewmembers for lunar missions. Later, it can support crew transfers for Mars missions.

Orion borrows its shape from space capsules of the past, but takes advantage of the latest technology in computers, electronics, life support, propulsion and heat protection systems. The capsule's conical shape is the safest and most reliable for re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere, especially at the velocities required for a direct return form the moon.

Orion will be 16.5 feet in diameter and have a mass of about 25 tons. Inside, it will have more than 2.5 times the volume of an Apollo capsule. The spacecraft will return humans to the moon to stay for long periods as a testing ground for the longer journey to Mars.

NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston, manages the Constellation Program and the agency's Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala., manages the Exploration Launch Projects' office for the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate, Washington.

For more information about NASA and agency programs, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/home

- end -

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Source: NASA Press Release 06-299

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
NASA To Announce Contractor for Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle


The user posted image media advisory is reproduced below:

Aug. 24, 2006
Michael Braukus/Beth Dickey
Headquarters, Washington
202-358-1979/2087

Kelly Humphries
Johnson Space Center, Houston
281-483-5111

MEDIA ADVISORY: M06-137

NASA Announces Contractor for Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle


NASA Exploration Systems' managers will host a press conference at 4 p.m. EDT Thursday, Aug. 31, to announce the prime contractor to design, develop, and build Orion, America's next human spacecraft.

The press conference will be in the NASA headquarters auditorium, 300 E Street S.W., Washington. It will air live on the Web and on NASA TV. Reporters may ask questions from participating NASA locations. Reporters should coordinate with local agency centers by 4 p.m. EDT Wednesday, Aug. 30 for access information.

Associate Administrator for the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate Scott Horowitz, Exploration Deputy Associate Administrator Doug Cooke, Constellation Program Manager Jeff Hanley, and CEV Project Manager Caris A. (Skip) Hatfield will announce the selection and discuss the program.

Orion is the vehicle NASA is developing to carry a new generation of explorers back to the moon and later to Mars. Orion will succeed the space shuttle as NASA's primary vehicle for human space exploration. Orion's first flight with astronauts aboard is planned for no later than 2014 to the International Space Station. Its first flight to the moon is planned for no later than 2020.

For NASA TV streaming video, downlink and scheduling information, visit:



For information about NASA's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/exploration

- end -

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Source: NASA Press Release 06-299

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
NASA to Name Orion Contractor Thursday


Lessons from the past are guiding NASA's next step into the future, as the space agency prepares to replace the space shuttle with an Apollo-style vehicle for human explorers.

The vehicle is Orion, named for one of the brightest and most recognizable star formations in the sky. It will be a multi-purpose capsule -- the central member of a family of spacecraft and shuttle-derived launchers that NASA's Constellation Program is developing to carry astronauts back to the moon and later to Mars. The first flight with astronauts aboard is planned for no later than 2014. Orion's first flight to the moon is planned for no later than 2020.

In what amounts to one of the most significant NASA procurements in more than 30 years, two industry teams have spent the past 13 months refining concepts, analyzing requirements and sketching designs for Orion. On Thursday, managers of NASA's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate will reveal which of the two teams has been chosen to build it.

user posted image
Image above: Artist's concept of the Orion capsule and service module.
Image credit: NASA


Versatility will be Orion's trademark. It is being designed to fly to the moon, but could also be used to service the International Space Station in low-Earth orbit. "Our intent is to keep the destination focusing the design but we are not excluding the possibility of using Orion for other things, such as de-orbiting the Hubble Space Telescope in the 2020s or making a trek to an asteroid," said Jeff Hanley, who manages the Constellation Program from the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Orion improves on the best features of Project Apollo and the Space Shuttle Program, increasing the likelihood of success. "Going with known technology and known solutions lowers the risk" said Neil Woodward, director of the integration office in the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. Although Orion borrows its shape and aerodynamic performance from Apollo, the new capsule's updated computers, electronics, life support, propulsion and heat protection systems represent a marked improvement over legacy systems. We're pushing the technological edge, but only where it makes sense," says Woodward.

Unlike the winged space shuttle orbiter, which is mounted beside its external fuel tank and boosters for liftoff, Orion will be placed on top of its booster to protect it from ice, foam, and other launch system debris during ascent. Placing the spacecraft on top of the launch vehicle also allows the addition of an abort system that can separate capsule and crew from the booster in an emergency.

user posted image
Image above: Orion and a lunar lander head for the moon.
Artist's concept by John Frassanito and Associates.


Among the most obvious improvements is the command module's size. Measuring 16.5 feet in diameter, Orion will have more than 2.5 times the interior volume of the three-seat Apollo capsules that carried astronaut crews to the moon for missions lasting only several hours to several days in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Orion will be crucial for developing a sustained human presence on the moon. It will be able to carry four astronauts to the moon and support missions of up to six months.

"You don't get the chance to build a new human spacecraft every day," said Skip Hatfield, the Orion project manager in Houston. "This is a wonderful opportunity for NASA to learn from the things we've done in the past, take the best of those activities, and blend them together using the latest methods of manufacturing and management to make a system that will enable us to go out and explore beyond low-Earth orbit."

Hatfield and Hanley noted that NASA is leveraging the talent and resources of the entire agency in the design and development of Orion. While Constellation Program management resides at Johnson, all 10 of the agency's field centers are making important contributions.


Source: NASA - Constellation Program - Orion Crew Vehicle Edited by Waspie_Dwarf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Orion Crew Vehicle


Future astronauts will ride into space in the Orion capsule, similar in design to the Apollo-era command module, but larger and more versatile, and capable of carrying six occupants -- twice as many as its predecessor.

user posted image
Image above: Artist's concept of a cargo
launch vehicle during the staging process.
Credit: NASA
+ View large image


Orion will succeed the space shuttle as NASA's primary vehicle for human space exploration. Orion's first flight with astronauts onboard is planned for no later than 2014 to the International Space Station. Its first flight to the moon is planned for no later than 2020.

Orion is the primary payload of the Ares I rocket's 25-ton mission, designed to reach low-Earth orbit for rendezvous with the International Space Station or an Earth Departure Stage and lunar lander.

Orion will be capable of transporting cargo and up to six crew members to and from the International Space Station. It can carry four crewmembers for lunar missions. Later, it can support crew transfers for Mars missions.

Orion borrows its shape from space capsules of the past, but takes advantage of the latest technology in computers, electronics, life support, propulsion and heat protection systems. The capsule's conical shape is the safest and most reliable for re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere, especially at the velocities required for a direct return from the moon.

Orion will be 16.5 feet in diameter and have a mass of about 25 tons. Inside, it will have more than 2.5 times the volume of an Apollo capsule. The spacecraft will return humans to the moon to stay for long periods as a testing ground for the longer journey to Mars.

NASA estimates the new launch systems will be 10 times safer than the shuttle because of an escape rocket on top of the capsule that can quickly blast the crew away if launch problems develop. There's also little chance of damage from launch vehicle debris, since the capsule sits on top of the rocket.

Launch Abort System

The escape rocket is part of a comprehensive launch abort system, being developed by NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston and partner centers around the nation.

As with Apollo and earlier human spaceflight programs, an "escape tower" sits atop the crew capsule. In the event of a launch emergency, the tower's small motors are designed to ignite and quickly separate the crew module from the rocket. A series of parachutes then automatically deploys to lower the crew safely back to Earth.

Earth Reentry and Landing System

For return to Earth, Orion will be equipped with a system of parachutes, and active or passive shock absorbers designed to prevent potential risks during reentry and landing, and to enable astronauts to touch down on land.

user posted image
Image above: Artist's concept of re-entry
to Earth's atmosphere.
Credit: NASA
+ View large image


NASA expects advanced reentry and touchdown technologies now in development to minimize the forces the module and its occupants are subjected to prior to landing.


Source: NASA - Constellation Program - Orion Crew Vehicle

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ares I Crew Launch Vehicle


NASA is already at work developing hardware and systems for the Ares I rocket that will send future astronauts into orbit. Built on cutting-edge launch technologies, evolved powerful Apollo and space shuttle propulsion elements, and decades of NASA spaceflight experience, Ares I is the essential core of a safe, reliable, cost-effective space transportation system -- one that will carry crewed missions back to the moon, on to Mars and out into the solar system.

Ares I is an in-line, two-stage rocket configuration topped by the Orion crew vehicle and its launch abort system. In addition to the vehicle's primary mission -- carrying crews of four to six astronauts to Earth orbit -- Ares I may also use its 25-ton payload capacity to deliver resources and supplies to the International Space Station, or to "park" payloads in orbit for retrieval by other spacecraft bound for the moon or other destinations.

user posted image
Image above: Expanded view of the Ares I.
Credit: NASA
+ View large image


During launch, the first-stage booster powers the vehicle toward low Earth orbit. In mid-flight, the reusable booster separates and the upper stage's J-2X engine ignites, putting the vehicle into a circular orbit.

Crew transportation to the International Space Station is planned to begin no later than 2014. The first lunar excursion is scheduled for the 2020 timeframe.

Ares I First Stage

The Ares I first stage is a single, five-segment reusable solid rocket booster derived from the Space Shuttle Program's reusable solid rocket motor, which burns a specially formulated and shaped solid propellant.

user posted image
Image above: Artist concept of Ares I.
Credit: NASA
+ View large image


A newly designed forward adapter will mate the vehicle's first stage to the upper stage, and will be equipped with booster separation motors to disconnect the stages during ascent.

Ares I Upper Stage / Upper Stage Engine

The Ares I second, or upper, stage is propelled by a J-2X main engine fueled with liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen.

user posted image
Image at right: A J-2 engine undergoes static firing.
Credit: NASA
+ View large image


The J-2X is an evolved variation of two historic predecessors: the powerful J-2 engine that propelled the Apollo-era Saturn IB and Saturn V rockets, and the J-2S, a simplified version of the J-2 developed and tested in the early 1970s but never flown.


Source: NASA - Constellation Program - Ares Launch Vehicles

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ares V Cargo Launch Vehicle


NASA is planning and designing hardware and propulsion systems for the Ares V cargo launch vehicle -- the "heavy lifter" of America's next-generation space fleet.

During launch, the Ares V first stage and core propulsion stage power it upward toward Earth orbit. After separation from the spent core stage, the upper stage -- also known as the Earth Departure Stage -- takes over, and by a J-2X engine puts the vehicle into a circular orbit.
The cargo vehicle's propulsion system can lift heavy structures and hardware to orbit or fire its engines for trans-lunar injection, a trajectory designed to intersect with the moon. Such lift capabilities will enable NASA to carry a variety of robust science and exploration payloads to space and could possibly take future crews to Mars and beyond.

The first crewed lunar excursion is scheduled to occur by 2020.

user posted image
Image above: Expanded view of the Ares V.
Credit: NASA
+ View large image




Ares V First Stage

The first stage of the Ares V vehicle relies on two, five-segment reusable solid rocket boosters for lift-off.

user posted image
Image above: Artist concept of Ares V.
Credit: NASA
+ View large image


Derived from the space shuttle solid rocket boosters, they are similar to the single booster that serves as the first stage for the cargo vehicle's sister craft, Ares I.

Ares V Core Stage / Core Stage Engine

The twin solid rocket boosters of the first stage flank a single, liquid-fueled central booster element. Derived from the space shuttle external tank, the central booster tank delivers liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen fuel to five RS-68 rocket engines -- a modified version of the ones currently used in the Delta IV launcher developed in the 1990s by the U.S. Air Force for its Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program and commercial launch applications. The RS-68 engines serve as the core stage propulsion for Ares V.

user posted image
Image above: An RS-68 engine undergoes hot-fire testing.
Credit: Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne
+ View large image


Atop the central booster element is an interstage cylinder, which includes booster separation motors and a newly designed forward adapter that mates the first stage with the Earth Departure Stage.

Ares V Earth Departure Stage / Engine

The Ares V Earth Departure Stage will be designed by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

The Earth Departure Stage is propelled by a J-2X main engine fueled with liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen. The J-2X is an evolved variation of two historic predecessors: the powerful J-2 upper-stage engine that propelled the Apollo-era Saturn IB and Saturn V upper stages and the J-2S, a simplified version of the J-2 developed and tested in the early 1970s but never flown.

The Earth Departure Stage separates from the core stage and its J-2X engine ignites mid-flight.

user posted image
Image above: Concept image of the Ares V earth departure stage in orbit, shown with the Crew Exploration Vehicle docked with the Lunar Surface Access Module.
Credit: NASA
+ View large image [/color
]

Once in orbit, the Orion crew capsule -- the astronaut module delivered to orbit by Ares I -- docks with the orbiting Earth Departure Stage carrying the Lunar Surface Access Module, which will ferry astronauts to and from the moon’s surface. Once mated with the crew module, the departure stage fires its engine to achieve "escape velocity," the speed necessary to break free of Earth's gravity, and the new lunar vessel begins its journey to the moon.

user posted image
Image above: A J-2 engine undergoes static firing.
Credit: NASA
+ View large image


The Earth Departure Stage is then jettisoned, leaving the crew module and Lunar Surface Access Module mated. Once the four astronauts arrive in lunar orbit, they transfer to the lunar module and descend to the moon's surface. The crew module remains in lunar orbit until the astronauts depart from the moon in the lunar vessel, rendezvous with the crew module in orbit and return to Earth.

Lunar Surface Access Module

Anchored atop the Earth Departure Stage is a composite shroud protecting the Lunar Surface Access Module, or LSAM.

user posted image
Image above: Artist concept of crew vehicle and lander in lunar orbit.
Credit: NASA
+ View large image


This module includes the descent stage, developed by the Marshall Space Flight Center, that will carry explorers to the moon’s surface; and the ascent stage, developed by the Johnson Space Center, that will return them to lunar orbit to rendezvous with the crew exploration module, their ride home to Earth.


Source: NASA - Constellation Program - Ares Launch Vehicles

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
NASA Selects Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle Prime Contractor


The user posted image press release is reproduced below:

Aug. 31, 2006
Michael Braukus/Beth Dickey
Headquarters, Washington
202-358-1979/2087

Kelly Humphries
Johnson Space Center, Houston
281-483-5111

RELEASE: 06-305

NASA Selects Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle Prime Contractor


NASA selected Wednesday Lockheed Martin Corp., based in Bethesda, Md., as the prime contractor to design, develop, and build Orion, America's spacecraft for a new generation of explorers.

Orion will be capable of transporting four crewmembers for lunar missions and later supporting crew transfers for Mars missions. Orion could also carry up to six crew members to and from the International Space Station.

The first Orion launch with humans onboard is planned for no later than 2014, and for a human moon landing no later than 2020. Orion will form a key element of extending a sustained human presence beyond low-Earth orbit to advance commerce, science and national leadership.

The contract with Lockheed Martin is the conclusion of a two-phase selection process. NASA began working with the two contractor teams, Northrop Grumman/Boeing and Lockheed Martin, in July 2005 to perform concept refinement, trade studies, analysis of requirements and preliminary design options. Lockheed Martin will be responsible for the design, development, testing, and evaluation (DDT&E) of the new spacecraft.

Manufacturing and integration of the vehicle components will take place at contractor facilities across the country. Lockheed Martin will perform the majority of the Orion vehicle engineering work at NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston, and complete final assembly of the vehicle at the Kennedy Space Center, Fla. All 10 NASA centers will provide technical and engineering support to the Orion project.

The contract is structured into separate schedules for DDT&E with options for production of additional spacecraft and sustaining engineering. During DDT&E, NASA will use an end-item cost-plus-award-fee incentive contract. This makes the award fee subject to final determination after the contractor has demonstrated that it meets the technical, cost, and schedule requirements of the contract.

DDT&E work is estimated to occur from Sept. 8, 2006, through Sept. 7, 2013. The estimated value is $3.9 billion.

Production and sustaining engineering activities are contract options that will allow NASA to obtain additional vehicles as needed. Delivery orders over and above those in the DDT&E portion will specify the number of spacecraft to be produced and the schedule on which they should be delivered.

Post-development spacecraft delivery orders may begin as early as Sept. 8, 2009, through Sept. 7, 2019, if all options are exercised. The estimated value of these orders is negotiated based on future manifest requirements and knowledge gained through the DDT&E process and is estimated not to exceed $3.5 billion.

Sustaining engineering work will be assigned through task orders. The work is expected to occur from Sept. 8, 2009, through Sept. 7, 2019, with an estimated value of $750 million, if all options are exercised.

For information about Orion, visit:



For information about NASA and agency programs, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/home

- end -

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Source: NASA Press Release 06-305

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
NASA Names Orion Contractor


Lessons from the past are guiding NASA's next step into the future, as the space agency prepares to replace the space shuttle with an Apollo-style vehicle for human explorers.

user posted image
Image left: Orion in lunar orbit.
Image credit: Lockheed Martin Corp.


The vehicle is Orion, named for one of the brightest and most recognizable star formations in the sky. It will be a multi-purpose capsule -- the central member of a family of spacecraft and shuttle-derived launchers that NASA's Constellation Program is developing to carry astronauts back to the moon and later to Mars. The first flight with astronauts aboard is planned for no later than 2014. Orion's first flight to the moon is planned for no later than 2020.

In what amounts to one of the most significant NASA procurements in more than 30 years, two industry teams, Northrop Grumman/Boeing and Lockheed Martin, spent the past 13 months refining concepts, analyzing requirements and sketching designs for Orion. On Thursday, managers of NASA's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate revealed that Lockheed Martin Corp. of Bethesda, Md., has been chosen to build it.

Versatility will be Orion's trademark. It is being designed to fly to the moon, but could also be used to service the International Space Station in low-Earth orbit. "Our intent is to keep the destination focusing the design but we are not excluding the possibility of using Orion for other things, such as de-orbiting the Hubble Space Telescope in the 2020s or making a trek to an asteroid," said Jeff Hanley, who manages the Constellation Program from the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Orion improves on the best features of Project Apollo and the Space Shuttle Program, increasing the likelihood of success. "Going with known technology and known solutions lowers the risk" said Neil Woodward, director of the integration office in the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. Although Orion borrows its shape and aerodynamic performance from Apollo, the new capsule's updated computers, electronics, life support, propulsion and heat protection systems represent a marked improvement over legacy systems. We're pushing the technological edge, but only where it makes sense," says Woodward.

Unlike the winged space shuttle orbiter, which is mounted beside its external fuel tank and boosters for liftoff, Orion will be placed on top of its booster to protect it from ice, foam, and other launch system debris during ascent. Placing the spacecraft on top of the launch vehicle also allows the addition of an abort system that can separate capsule and crew from the booster in an emergency.

user posted image
Image right: Orion and a lunar lander head for the moon.
Credit: Lockheed Martin Corp.


Among the most obvious improvements is the command module's size. Measuring 16.5 feet in diameter, Orion will have more than 2.5 times the interior volume of the three-seat Apollo capsules that carried astronaut crews to the moon for missions lasting only several hours to several days in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Orion will be crucial for developing a sustained human presence on the moon. It will be able to carry four astronauts to the moon and support missions of up to six months.

"You don't get the chance to build a new human spacecraft every day," said Skip Hatfield, the Orion project manager in Houston. "This is a wonderful opportunity for NASA to learn from the things we've done in the past, take the best of those activities, and blend them together using the latest methods of manufacturing and management to make a system that will enable us to go out and explore beyond low-Earth orbit."

Hatfield and Hanley noted that NASA is leveraging the talent and resources of the entire agency in the design and development of Orion. While Constellation Program management resides at Johnson, all 10 of the agency's field centers are making important contributions.

The contract with Lockheed Martin has a seven-year base valued at about $3.9 billion for design, development, testing and evaluation of the new spacecraft. Production and sustaining engineering activities are contract options worth more than $4 billion through 2019.


Source: NASA - Constellation Program - Orion Crew Vehicle

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
A consortium led by Lockheed Martin will build the next spaceship to take humans to the Moon.

Nasa has awarded a multi-billion-dollar contract to the group to develop the Orion vehicle, which will replace the space shuttle when it retires in 2010.

The agency is dropping the shuttle's winged, reusable design and is going back to the capsule-style ships that first carried Americans into orbit.

Lockheed Martin beat a joint bid from Northrop Grumman and Boeing.

The first Orion vehicles should fly in 2014 or soon after.

They will launch aboard one-time-use, ¿single stick¿ rockets, called Ares, that Nasa is developing.

Click to see plans for Moon travel

Two versions are on the drawing board: one to lift Orion and its up-to-six astronauts, the other to loft a service module and other equipment that would be needed to support a mission to the lunar surface.

The idea is that the components would be joined in Earth orbit before being despatched to the Moon.

The Lockheed Martin Corporation is the world's largest defence contractor. It also builds commercial and military satellites, and the Atlas series of rockets.

Its Orion consortium includes booster-rocket maker Orbital Sciences, and the Hamilton Sundstrand unit of United Technologies Corp, which makes space suits, life support and power management systems.

US space policy has shifted in the wake of the 2003 shuttle disaster. President George W Bush has called for a new vision that will take humans beyond low-Earth orbit and the International Space Station, to aim to go back to the Moon and on to Mars.

Russia and Europe, too, are looking to develop a new human space-transportation system.

They are currently engaged in a joint feasibility study that could eventually lead to a rocket and capsule programme that evolves the best aspects of their Soyuz and Ariane technologies.

Infographic, BBC

(1) A heavy-lift rocket blasts off from Earth carrying a lunar lander and a "departure stage"

(2) Several days later, astronauts launch on a separate rocket system with their Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV)

(3) The CEV docks with the lander and departure stage in Earth orbit and then heads to the Moon

(4) Having done its job of boosting the CEV and lunar lander on their way, the departure stage is jettisoned

(5) At the Moon, the astronauts leave their CEV and enter the lander for the trip to the lunar surface

(6) After exploring the lunar landscape for seven days, the crew blasts off in a portion of the lander

(7) In Moon orbit, they re-join the waiting robot-minded CEV and begin the journey back to Earth

(8) On the way, the service component of the CEV is jettisoned. This leaves just the crew capsule to enter the atmosphere

(9) A heatshield protects the capsule; parachutes bring it down on dry land, probably in California

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/5304086.stm

Awesome, one step closer to actually happening!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Lockheed Martin press release is reproduced below:

LOCKHEED MARTIN SELECTED BY NASA FOR ORION CREW EXPLORATION VEHICLE

Lockheed Martin Team To Design and Build Successor To Space Shuttle as NASA's Primary Vehicle For Human Space Exploration

Washington, D.C., August 31, 2006 -- The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced today that it has selected the Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] team to design and build the agency’s next-generation human space flight crew transportation system known as Orion, with an initial contract value of approximately $4 billion.

Orion, an advanced crew capsule design utilizing state-of-the-art technology, is a key element of NASA’s Vision for Space Exploration, and will succeed the Space Shuttle in transporting a new generation of human explorers to and from the International Space Station, the Moon, and eventually to Mars and beyond.

In partnership with NASA, Lockheed Martin will serve as prime contractor and will lead a world-class industry team that includes Honeywell, Orbital Sciences Corporation, United Space Alliance and Hamilton Sundstrand, supporting NASA in the design, test, build, integration and operational capability of Orion.

"We are honored by the trust that NASA has placed in the Lockheed Martin team for this historic and vital step forward in human space exploration," said Bob Stevens, chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer of Lockheed Martin Corporation. "Our entire team is fully committed to supporting NASA as we join together to help make the vision for space exploration a reality."

Orion will transport up to six crew members to and from the International Space Station, and up to four crew members for lunar missions. The new crew vehicle is designed to be an order of magnitude safer, more reliable, more affordable and more operationally efficient than previous human space flight systems.

“We are humbled and excited as we continue our legacy of five decades of partnership with NASA in every aspect of human and robotic space exploration,” said Joanne Maguire, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company. “Work already is underway and we are fully focused on the vital tasks that lie ahead to meet NASA’s requirements for the program. We have a world-class team of highly dedicated, highly experienced women and men who are passionate about the success of NASA’s missions.”

The Lockheed Martin Orion program office is located in Houston, TX, co-located with NASA’s Johnson Space Center, providing support in the areas of program management, requirements development, software development, avionics, human factors, and system qualification testing. Large structures and composites will be built at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, LA. Final assembly, checkout and acceptance testing of Orion for both the Crew Module and Service Module will be performed in the Operations and Checkout (O&C) facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company is one of the major operating units of Lockheed Martin Corporation. Space Systems designs, develops, tests, manufactures and operates a variety of advanced technology systems for military, civil and commercial customers. Chief products include a full range of space launch systems, including heavy-lift capability, ground systems, remote sensing and communications satellites for commercial and government customers, advanced space observatories and interplanetary spacecraft, fleet ballistic missiles and missile defense systems.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin employs about 135,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation reported 2005 sales of $37.2 billion.

Source: Lockheed Martin Press Release

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Saw this on the news Gav...I used to work for LMMS in Denver and got to tour the main facility where they were assembling Titans - and another type that i can't remember the name of right now - at the time...pretty cool place to tour.

I wonder what the plans are this time? I guess the astronauts will be able to do a lot more exploring if they're on the surface for 7 days. Maybe they could land next to one of the old sites and fire up the moon jeep they left behind (plug in a new battery, kick the tires, and off they go).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.