Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Congress delays Orion Spacecraft launch date

The Orion Spacecraft, which is scheduled to replace the Space Shuttle as America's premier manned spaceflight transport vessel, was due to be launched in 2013. The date has now been moved to 2014.

NASA abandons plan to fly new spaceships by 2013
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla (Reuters) - NASA has abandoned plans to get its replacement for the retiring U.S. space shuttles into service by 2013 because of a lack of additional funds and technical issues, officials said on Monday.


"The window of opportunity for us to accelerate Orion has closed," program manager Jeff Hanley at NASA's Johnson Space Centre in Houston told reporters during a conference call.

The United States will be without a means to transport people to and from space after the shuttle fleet is retired in 2010 until the new ships are ready to fly. It intends to rely on Russia to ferry crews to the space station and on private companies to deliver cargo during the gap.

NASA had hoped to minimize the gap, but additional funding to do so has not been approved by the U.S. Congress. [...]

(bold emphasis mine) Our wonderful congress at work. I suspect many of them would like to scrap the manned space program, and use the money for pork programs to buy votes. But to be fair, there were also concerns about safety, that have lead to some people at NASA seeing the later launch date as a good thing. So hopefully the Orion will be ready to fly to the ISS by 2014, and on to the moon by 2020, if congress will stop obstructing and get with the program... the Constellation Program.

Related Links:

Asteroid mission concept unveiled
A Nasa scientist has proposed using the replacement to the space shuttle to visit a near-Earth asteroid.

The Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) is due to make its maiden flight in 2014, with the eventual aim of ferrying astronauts to and from the Moon.

Dr Paul Abell said such a mission could help efforts to protect against an asteroid on course to hit Earth.

Currently, the project is envisaged to include two or three crew members and last a total of 90-180 days.

Dr Abell presented an outline of his mission concept here at the Lunar and Planetary Science conference in Houston, Texas.

The plan would be to visit an asteroid in the sub-kilometre size range, perhaps about the size of asteroid Itokawa (535m) which was visited by Japan's Hayabusa spacecraft. [...]

Wow. This also sounds like it would be a good practice step towards a Mars Mission. Read the rest of this fascinating article for more details.

Below are two links to prior posts about the Orion spacecraft:

NASA goes Back to the Future

Re-entry Dilemmas; the Orion Capsule and SS2


1 comment:

benning said...

Navigating to an asteroid is certainly more difficult than aiming for a planet. I hope they try it.

As for the Orion ... sheesh!

We abandoned the concept of taking off and landing to try and catch up with the Soviets - who were essentially using rockets strapped together. We were actually far ahead of them, but the MSM had to be fed, so ... we stepped back to build huge rockets.

From the start the Leftists have hated NASA. Only Soviet space exploration was good. American exploration was a waste of money that could be better used for handouts.