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Waspie_Dwarf

1st Orion/SLS Flight Will Be Uncrewed

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Waspie_Dwarf

NASA Affirms Plan for First Mission of SLS, Orion

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In February, NASA began an effort looking at the feasibility of putting crew aboard the first integrated flight of the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft -- Exploration Mission-1, or EM-1. After weighing the data and assessing all implications, the agency will continue pursuing the original plan for the first launch, as a rigorous flight test of the integrated systems without crew. However, engineers will apply insights gained from the effort to the first flight test and the integrated systems to strengthen the long-term push to extend human presence deeper into the solar system.

arrow3.gif  Read More: NASA

 

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Waspie_Dwarf
1 hour ago, goodgodno said:

To a general observer such as myself this looks just like an apollo with a similar mission.

Hardly a similar mission given that the ultimate goal of Orion is to take humans to Mars.

1 hour ago, goodgodno said:

 I do often wonder why we cant construct a modular spacecraft in earth orbit capable of reaching mars.

That is EXACTLY the plan. Orion is simply the spacecraft that the astronauts will launch in and return to Earth in. Missions to Mars WILL use a modular craft.

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Derek Willis

Does NASA feel the likelihood of a failure/accident to be greater with the first SLS launch than with the first launch of the shuttle in 1981? That flight - almost forty years ago - was manned. My memory may be failing, but at the time NASA said the shuttle flight had to be manned because Columbia needed to be flown back to Earth by a pilot. I don't know if that was actually the case, because as the Soviet's demonstrated with the single flight of their shuttle Buran in 1988, automatic return was perfectly possible.

I just wonder if since the Challenger and Columbia disasters, NASA would prefer not to take a risk which, in the past, they would have done?

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paperdyer

If the picture is an accurate representation of the Orion, it looks a lot like the SpaceX rocket.

You can't blame NASA for being cautious, especially if new or modified technology is being used. If nothing happens, then 20/20 hindsight will be on them for not having a manned mission.  If the mission was manned and something happened, then the same 20/20 hindsight would be very critical, especially the news media.

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u2canbfmj

EM-1 was designed to be unmanned. Hence, may parts of the rocket aren't man rated yet. The ICPS second stage for one example isn't man rated. The cost and schedule to rate these systems lines up with the original EM-2 Launch date.

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Derek Willis
16 minutes ago, u2canbfmj said:

EM-1 was designed to be unmanned. Hence, may parts of the rocket aren't man rated yet. The ICPS second stage for one example isn't man rated. The cost and schedule to rate these systems lines up with the original EM-2 Launch date.

I had a brief look at the criteria for human-rating of rockets and spacecraft. After the Challenger and Columbia disasters the criteria were made more stringent. Hence, at the time of its maiden flight Columbia would not have met the criteria now used, and so would not be considered safe enough to carry humans.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human-rating_certification

I guess in a way, this confirms what I said: NASA are now more sensitive to risk than they were in the past. That of course is a good thing.

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Merc14
7 hours ago, Derek Willis said:

Does NASA feel the likelihood of a failure/accident to be greater with the first SLS launch than with the first launch of the shuttle in 1981? That flight - almost forty years ago - was manned. My memory may be failing, but at the time NASA said the shuttle flight had to be manned because Columbia needed to be flown back to Earth by a pilot. I don't know if that was actually the case, because as the Soviet's demonstrated with the single flight of their shuttle Buran in 1988, automatic return was perfectly possible.

I just wonder if since the Challenger and Columbia disasters, NASA would prefer not to take a risk which, in the past, they would have done?

 

2 hours ago, Derek Willis said:

I had a brief look at the criteria for human-rating of rockets and spacecraft. After the Challenger and Columbia disasters the criteria were made more stringent. Hence, at the time of its maiden flight Columbia would not have met the criteria now used, and so would not be considered safe enough to carry humans.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human-rating_certification

I guess in a way, this confirms what I said: NASA are now more sensitive to risk than they were in the past. That of course is a good thing.

NASA had an open telecom update last week that anyone could listen into so I did for about the last half and what I got from it is that their plans for this first mission were to push the entire spacecraft to its extremes, really wring it out so they could further refine and protect it and having a crew aboard would've curtailed that scenario.  Also, getting the craft to full crew readiness probably would've delayed the mission, so they decided to go with the original mission scenario.

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Derek Willis
1 hour ago, Merc14 said:

 

NASA had an open telecom update last week that anyone could listen into so I did for about the last half and what I got from it is that their plans for this first mission were to push the entire spacecraft to its extremes, really wring it out so they could further refine and protect it and having a crew aboard would've curtailed that scenario.  Also, getting the craft to full crew readiness probably would've delayed the mission, so they decided to go with the original mission scenario.

That makes sense. Pushing the craft almost to its limit might highlight some areas that need improving. Hindsight is a great thing, but perhaps a similar procedure might have saved the lives of the shuttle crews.

Many years ago I watched a documentary about John Young, who commanded the first shuttle flight. His self-deprecating manner was fascinating. He was asked if he and Bob Crippen had been scared before the flight. His answer was: "We were too dumb to be scared". I guess only a former naval aviator, test pilot and astronaut who had been to the Moon twice can come up with an answer like that!

I'll listen to the conference you linked to.

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