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Old 07-19-2010, 08:35 PM   #91
N_Molson
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From what I have understood, the Orion capsule could be used for manned LEO operation, with a smaller Service Module. It will always be possible to use it with a bigger SM (or an advanced engine like VASMIR or so).
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Old 07-19-2010, 08:47 PM   #92
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 Also, the Soyuz is lot lighter and cheaper than the Apollo program. And, even more, the rocket used to launch it was also the cheapest and more reliable in the Soviet inventory.

An Apollo/Saturn launch was extremely expensive, even with the "lite" LEO variations of the Saturn. And still, the Apollo spacecraft carried 3 astronauts, like it's russian counterpart. The Apollo-Soyuz missions were a demonstration of that.
However, Apollo packed more punch in the delta-V department than Soyuz, and that was evident with ASTP. Moreover, Apollo was designed to go to the Moon and not to be an orbital taxi (Soyuz was designed to do that as well, but it was reworked).

The problem with NASA was that it could only build and fly ONE manned spacecraft. Gemini had a lot of potential to become as flexible and cheap as Soyuz, maybe even more, but the program had to be stopped because there was no way to go forward with both programs.
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Old 07-19-2010, 10:44 PM   #93
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I'm not making the comparison between Apollo & Soyuz (which was lighter because it has a lot less Dv). Just that Apollo was over-scaled for LEO operations, while Soyuz proven to be very cost-effective.

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The problem with NASA was that it could only build and fly ONE manned spacecraft. Gemini had a lot of potential to become as flexible and cheap as Soyuz, maybe even more, but the program had to be stopped because there was no way to go forward with both programs.
There is actually more living space inside the (spherical) Soyuz than in the (conic) Apollo. Gemini was like a sportcar : it could carry only 2 astronauts, and they were unable to move from their seats, except for EVA of course. It was an excellent and reliable spacecraft that contributed a lot to put the USA ahead in the Moon race, but it was not designed for long duration orbital missions.

That being said, I agree that the Soyuz doesn't look pretty, but that's not the point.
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Old 07-20-2010, 10:23 PM   #94
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[Photos] NASA: "Orion Spacecraft Takes Shape".

NASA: "NASA Tests Launch Abort System At Supersonic Speeds".

Last edited by Orbinaut Pete; 07-20-2010 at 10:45 PM.
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Old 08-10-2010, 10:34 PM   #95
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The Planetary Society Blog: "NASA's Orion Test Capsule enters Test Phase".
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Old 08-12-2010, 12:39 AM   #96
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Aerojet's Successful Main Engine Injector Tests Provide Milestone for NASA's Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle - Testing confirms combustion stability and provides initial performance data.

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Aug. 5, 2010 – Aerojet, a GenCorp (NYSE: GY) company, under contract to Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT), has successfully completed more than 20 injector tests for the 7500-pound thrust Orion main engine (OME) for NASA's Orion crew exploration vehicle. The tests are a combination of checkout, development, and qualification that will anchor models and satisfy combustion stability qualification requirements. The OME is a pressure-fed, regeneratively cooled, storable bi-propellant engine that is a technically advanced, increased performance version of Aerojet’s flight-proven 6000-pound thrust space shuttle Orbital Maneuvering System Engine (OMS-E).

"Successful completion of this test series represents a major milestone in the OME development program and clears the way for further testing with the regeneratively cooled flight design chamber in 2011," said Sam Wiley, Aerojet's Orion technical director.

The injector has performed exceptionally well to date, verifying the engine's combustion stability and additionally providing chamber wall heat flux and injector performance data to anchor mathematical models. All testing is being performed in heavy-weight combustion chambers specifically designed for these tasks. This early demonstration of the engine's combustion stability at expected Orion operating conditions is being conducted to retire risk to the Orion vehicle.

The OME injector combines the reliability and combustion stability of the OMS-E injector with current Aerojet best practices in design and manufacturing to reduce process variability affecting injector performance and cost for the Orion program. The OME injector is a diffusion-bonded platelet device with the same injector element type, face pattern layout, and element quantity as the OMS-E, but with improvements in the injector body design and platelets to provide more uniform flow to the injector elements.

The current Aerojet platelet manufacturing capability results in significantly less dimensional variability than was possible for the OMS-E, enabling improved uniformity of propellants injected into the combustion chamber. The improvements in injection uniformity are also expected to result in improved nominal and minimum vacuum specific impulse for the OME.

The OME will provide thrust for events requiring large velocity changes such as Earth orbital insertion, translunar/trans Earth injection, Earth de-orbit, and emergency thrust for high-altitude abort scenarios. Orion's engine complement also includes 16 25-pound thrust engines and eight 100-pound-thrust bipropellant engines for the Orion service module. Additionally, Aerojet supplies 12 160-pound-thrust monopropellant thrusters for the Orion crew module. Aerojet is providing all of the engines for the Orion spacecraft which is comprised of a crew module for crew and cargo transport, and a service module for propulsion, electrical power and fluids storage. Risk reduction testing of critical subsystems has been ongoing throughout Orion's development phase to maximize mission success and crew safety.

Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor to NASA for the Orion spacecraft, which is being developed as the nation's next generation spacecraft for future human exploration throughout our solar system. Aerojet is part of the nationwide Orion industry team led by Lockheed Martin, which includes five major subcontractors and an expansive network of minor subcontractors and small businesses working at 88 facilities in 28 states across the country.

Aerojet is a world-recognized aerospace and defense leader principally serving the missile and space propulsion, defense and armaments markets. GenCorp is a leading technology-based manufacturer of aerospace and defense products and systems with a real estate segment that includes activities related to the entitlement, sale, and leasing of the company's excess real estate assets. Additional information about Aerojet and GenCorp can be obtained by visiting the companies' Web sites at www.Aerojet.com and www.GenCorp.com.

Accompanying image is here.
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Old 08-12-2010, 12:49 AM   #97
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NASA needs mostly money. They have excellent engineers that can realize technological wonders. But this can't be cheap, and this is what they try to hide. But it's impossible. The only mean to make quick advances is to give NASA the means to work properly.

Don't forget that Apollo 11 was the result of 10 years of a nation-wide "war-effort". And the economy of the US in the 60's... That was the American Dream Gold Age !

So I'm convinced that things won't move quickly without a serious budget. The space program has to be an effort from the nation. It can't be otherwise, money won't drop from the sky...
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Old 08-23-2010, 06:02 PM   #98
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SpaceRef: "Ping-Pong Balls to Float Crew Capsule Simulator".

SpaceRef: "NASA's Pioneer Orion Capsule Starts Its Test Phase".

Last edited by Orbinaut Pete; 08-23-2010 at 09:27 PM.
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Old 09-02-2010, 07:05 PM   #99
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Lockheed Martin: "Orion Performs Under Pressure".
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The Lockheed Martin Orion team performed well under pressure as the first Orion spacecraft successfully passed a structural proof pressure test at the NASA/Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, La., on Aug. 30, 2010, paving the way for future tests prior to space flight. This Orion spacecraft will be used for ground and flight test operations to correlate test data with analytical models to validate Orion’s flight design engineering.

Built to spaceflight specifications, the vehicle completed an important series of leak and proof pressure tests that confirmed Orion's structural design can withstand long-duration missions. The test incrementally pressurized the spacecraft with breathing air up to 15.55 pounds per square inch – or 1.05 atmospheres -- which is the equivalent pressure a scuba diver's gauge would read at a 35-foot depth.

The successful tests demonstrated a leak-free structure fabricated using self-reacting friction stir welding techniques, a technology that produces stronger and higher quality joints when compared with conventional welding. The pressurization test demonstrated weld strength capability, and advanced aluminum-lithium alloy structural performance at maximum flight operating pressures, making this structure survivable in the harshest environments of space. Test engineers monitored and collected data from 600 channels of instrumentation to support margin assessments and confirm design accuracy.

Successful test completion allows the hardware to advance to subsystem assembly and integration. Following additional testing in 2010, the assembled crew module will be mated to the launch abort system to undergo ground tests in flight-like environments in 2011.

All testing was accomplished at the NASA Michoud Assembly Facility, leveraging advanced technology and a diverse workforce experienced in all of NASA's human spaceflight programs. Recent engineering graduates supporting the Lockheed Martin team gained hands-on experience by designing elements of the successfully tested Orion spacecraft.
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Old 09-10-2010, 09:57 PM   #100
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Aviation Week: "Orion Testing Continues At Michoud".
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Old 09-13-2010, 07:08 PM   #101
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Harris Corporation's OS/COMET Product to be Used for NASA's Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle Project.

Harris Corporation, an international communications and information technology company, announced today that Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company (LMSSC) will use its OS/COMET telemetry, tracking, and command software for the Orion Program's Telemetry System to serve the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) new Orion crew exploration vehicle. The OS/COMET product will be a vital part of LMSSC Integrated Electrical Ground Support Equipment located at multiple labs in Denver and Houston, and test facilities in Ohio and Florida.

"Lockheed Martin's use of OS/COMET for the Orion Telemetry System is based on OS/COMET's flexibility and adaptability to meet the stringent telemetry requirements for the Orion vehicle," said Stephen Cross, senior staff engineer, Orion Program, LMSSC. "The use of Harris' OS/COMET commercial, off-the-shelf (COTS) product aligns with NASA's direction of using COTS products on their programs."

"Harris is pleased that the OS/COMET product is used by Lockheed Martin to support the Orion crew exploration vehicle," said Wayne Lucernoni, vice president, Intel and Civil Programs, Harris IT Services. "Harris' reliability stems from over two decades of success with telemetry, tracking and command (TT&C) deployments in support of both commercial and defense spacecraft."

OS/COMET delivers superior TT&C capabilities for military, intelligence, and commercial satellite constellations. It provides an extensible and flexible software ground control system that supports the development of more efficient operational solutions for existing or proposed space systems. NASA's Kennedy Space Center previously selected the OS/COMET product for the Launch Control System.

The Orion crew exploration vehicle is managed at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. The Orion crew exploration vehicle program will provide a state-of-the-art human space flight system capable of safely transferring astronauts to and from the International Space Station, the Moon, Mars and other destinations beyond low earth orbit.

Harris IT Services is a leading provider of end-to-end solutions in mission-critical IT transformation, managed solutions, and information assurance. With over 3,000 professionals performing to the highest industry standards at locations worldwide, Harris IT Services offers demonstrated past performance, proven technical expertise, and innovative solutions in supporting large-scale IT programs that encompass the full technology lifecycle. The organization's distributed workforce, present in all 50 states, and extensive experience in performance-based contracting and managed IT services, combine to deliver exceptional results to our defense, intelligence, homeland security, civil, and commercial customers.

About Harris Corporation.
Harris is an international communications and information technology company serving government and commercial markets in more than 150 countries. Headquartered in Melbourne, Florida, the company has approximately $5 billion of annual revenue and more than 16,000 employees — including nearly 7,000 engineers and scientists. Harris is dedicated to developing best-in-class assured communications products, systems, and services. Additional information about Harris Corporation is available at www.harris.com.
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Old 09-13-2010, 07:11 PM   #102
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Wow, I didn't even realize Orion was still gonna happen. I live about ten miles from Michoud, and it's good to know something is going on in that big building over there.
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Old 09-19-2010, 11:04 AM   #103
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NASASpaceFlight: Constellation Program Proceeds with Orion Capsule EVA Testing:
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With the fate of the Constellation Program at this juncture of time all but a certainty, Program officials are, nonetheless, pressing ahead with testing of the Orion crew capsule design. Specifically, current testing on Orion’s design is geared toward EVA egress/ingress procedures and mechanics for the four person capsule that was supposed to serve as a replacement, later this decade, for the retiring Shuttle fleet.

Throughout the month of September 2010 – the final month of funding for the Constellation Program under President Obama’s vision for the future of space operations in the United States – NASA has undertaken a series of EVA egress/ingress tests on a full-scale mockup of the Orion crew module in the large Neutral Buoyancy Lab (NBL) at the Johnson Space Center.
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Old 09-19-2010, 12:10 PM   #104
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Is it possible to bring Constellation to a screeching halt? There was a law passed forcing development to continue, but is there some way to end Orion's death spiral so the money could go else where, or is this a service-payed-for-service-rendered-no-matter-if-you-changed-your-mind type thing that its stuck in.

Also, is there any word on the morale of the people working on this? I feel sorry for them, what with the history of the project so far being what it was. I kinda felt glad about Constellation getting the axe until I thought about what is might be like to be them, what with the political squabbles and hearing the endless pro/cons of Constellation and having the matter directly affect you as it is your job to push the thing out the door.
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Old 09-20-2010, 04:25 PM   #105
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One of the guys who made this EVA (Dr. Sam Strauss) is on Twitter as @NASAastrodoc. He's posted some fantastic hi-res photos of the EVA on his Twitter account!
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