Orion (spacecraft)

Orion (spacecraft)

Overview


Orion is a spacecraft
Spacecraft
A spacecraft or spaceship is a craft or machine designed for spaceflight. Spacecraft are used for a variety of purposes, including communications, earth observation, meteorology, navigation, planetary exploration and transportation of humans and cargo....

 designed by Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin is an American global aerospace, defense, security, and advanced technology company with worldwide interests. It was formed by the merger of Lockheed Corporation with Martin Marietta in March 1995. It is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, in the Washington Metropolitan Area....

 for NASA
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

, the space agency of the United States. Orion development began in 2005 as part of the Constellation program, where Orion would fulfill the function of a Crew Exploration Vehicle
Crew Exploration Vehicle
The Crew Exploration Vehicle was the conceptual component of the U.S. NASA Vision for Space Exploration that later became known as the Orion spacecraft...

.
Each Orion spacecraft was projected to carry a crew of four astronaut
Astronaut
An astronaut or cosmonaut is a person trained by a human spaceflight program to command, pilot, or serve as a crew member of a spacecraft....

s. The spacecraft was originally designed to be launched by the Ares I
Ares I
Ares I was the crew launch vehicle that was being developed by NASA as part of the Constellation Program. The name "Ares" refers to the Greek deity Ares, who is identified with the Roman god Mars...

 launch vehicle
Launch vehicle
In spaceflight, a launch vehicle or carrier rocket is a rocket used to carry a payload from the Earth's surface into outer space. A launch system includes the launch vehicle, the launch pad and other infrastructure....

. On 11 October 2010, with the cancellation of the Constellation Program, the Ares program ended and development of the Orion vehicle was retooled into the similarly-named Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, planned to be launched on top of an alternative, cheaper Space Launch System
Space Launch System
The Space Launch System, or SLS, is a Space Shuttle-derived heavy launch vehicle being designed by NASA, following the cancellation of the Constellation Program, to replace the retired Space Shuttle. The NASA Authorization Act of 2010 envisions the transformation of the Ares I and Ares V vehicle...

.

The first orbital test flight of the Orion was planned for 2013, abort tests in 2014 and the first crewed Orion flight was anticipated in 2016.
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Orion
Description
Role: Beyond low Earth orbit
Low Earth orbit
A low Earth orbit is generally defined as an orbit within the locus extending from the Earth’s surface up to an altitude of 2,000 km...

, back-up for commercial cargo and crew to the ISS
Crew: 2-4
Carrier Rocket: Space Launch System
Space Launch System
The Space Launch System, or SLS, is a Space Shuttle-derived heavy launch vehicle being designed by NASA, following the cancellation of the Constellation Program, to replace the retired Space Shuttle. The NASA Authorization Act of 2010 envisions the transformation of the Ares I and Ares V vehicle...

 (planned)
Launch Date: 2016
Dimensions
Height:
Diameter: 5 m (16.5 ft)
Pressurized Volume: 19.56 m³ (691 cu ft)
Habitable Volume: 8.95 m³ (316 cu ft)
Capsule Mass: 8,913 kg (19,650 lb)
Service Module Mass: 12,337 kg (27,198 lb)
Total Mass: 21,250 kg (46,848 lb)
Service Module Propellant Mass: 7,907 kg (17,433 lb)
Performance
Total delta-v: 1,595 m/s
Endurance: 21.1 days


Orion is a spacecraft
Spacecraft
A spacecraft or spaceship is a craft or machine designed for spaceflight. Spacecraft are used for a variety of purposes, including communications, earth observation, meteorology, navigation, planetary exploration and transportation of humans and cargo....

 designed by Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin is an American global aerospace, defense, security, and advanced technology company with worldwide interests. It was formed by the merger of Lockheed Corporation with Martin Marietta in March 1995. It is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, in the Washington Metropolitan Area....

 for NASA
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

, the space agency of the United States. Orion development began in 2005 as part of the Constellation program, where Orion would fulfill the function of a Crew Exploration Vehicle
Crew Exploration Vehicle
The Crew Exploration Vehicle was the conceptual component of the U.S. NASA Vision for Space Exploration that later became known as the Orion spacecraft...

.
Each Orion spacecraft was projected to carry a crew of four astronaut
Astronaut
An astronaut or cosmonaut is a person trained by a human spaceflight program to command, pilot, or serve as a crew member of a spacecraft....

s. The spacecraft was originally designed to be launched by the Ares I
Ares I
Ares I was the crew launch vehicle that was being developed by NASA as part of the Constellation Program. The name "Ares" refers to the Greek deity Ares, who is identified with the Roman god Mars...

 launch vehicle
Launch vehicle
In spaceflight, a launch vehicle or carrier rocket is a rocket used to carry a payload from the Earth's surface into outer space. A launch system includes the launch vehicle, the launch pad and other infrastructure....

. On 11 October 2010, with the cancellation of the Constellation Program, the Ares program ended and development of the Orion vehicle was retooled into the similarly-named Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, planned to be launched on top of an alternative, cheaper Space Launch System
Space Launch System
The Space Launch System, or SLS, is a Space Shuttle-derived heavy launch vehicle being designed by NASA, following the cancellation of the Constellation Program, to replace the retired Space Shuttle. The NASA Authorization Act of 2010 envisions the transformation of the Ares I and Ares V vehicle...

.

The first orbital test flight of the Orion was planned for 2013, abort tests in 2014 and the first crewed Orion flight was anticipated in 2016. If commercial orbital transportation services
Commercial Orbital Transportation Services
Commercial Orbital Transportation Services is a NASA program to coordinate the delivery of crew and cargo to the International Space Station by private companies. The program was announced on January 18, 2006...

 are unavailable, Orion would handle logistic flights to the International Space Station
International Space Station
The International Space Station is a habitable, artificial satellite in low Earth orbit. The ISS follows the Salyut, Almaz, Cosmos, Skylab, and Mir space stations, as the 11th space station launched, not including the Genesis I and II prototypes...

.

The Obama Administration's proposed cancellation of the Constellation program began in February 2010 and was signed into law October 11. The bill is basically a retooling of the Constellation Program, moving the objective away from a moon base and more towards a Near-Earth object
Near-Earth object
A near-Earth object is a Solar System object whose orbit brings it into close proximity with the Earth. All NEOs have a perihelion distance less than 1.3 AU. They include a few thousand near-Earth asteroids , near-Earth comets, a number of solar-orbiting spacecraft, and meteoroids large enough to...

 (NEO) mission and an eventual Mars landing.

History


On January 14, 2004, President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 announced the Orion spacecraft, known then as the Crew Exploration Vehicle
Crew Exploration Vehicle
The Crew Exploration Vehicle was the conceptual component of the U.S. NASA Vision for Space Exploration that later became known as the Orion spacecraft...

 (CEV), as part of the Vision for Space Exploration
Vision for Space Exploration
The Vision for Space Exploration is the United States space policy which was announced on January 14, 2004 by President George W. Bush. It is seen as a response to the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, the state of human spaceflight at NASA, and a way to regain public enthusiasm for space...

:
Our second goal is to develop and test a new spacecraft, the Crew Exploration Vehicle, by 2008, and to conduct the first manned mission no later than 2014. The Crew Exploration Vehicle will be capable of ferrying astronauts and scientists to the Space Station after the shuttle is retired. But the main purpose of this spacecraft will be to carry astronauts beyond our orbit to other worlds. This will be the first spacecraft of its kind since the Apollo Command Module.


The proposal to create the Orion spacecraft was partly a reaction to the Space Shuttle Columbia accident
Space Shuttle Columbia disaster
The Space Shuttle Columbia disaster occurred on February 1, 2003, when shortly before it was scheduled to conclude its 28th mission, STS-107, the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated over Texas and Louisiana during re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere, resulting in the death of all seven crew members...

, the subsequent findings and report by the Columbia Accident Investigation Board
Columbia Accident Investigation Board
The Columbia Accident Investigation Board was convened by NASA to investigate the destruction of the Space Shuttle Columbia during STS-107 upon atmospheric re-entry on February 1, 2003. In addition to determining the cause of the accident, the panel also recommended changes that should be made...

 (CAIB), and the White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

's review of the American space program. The Orion spacecraft effectively replaced the conceptual Orbital Space Plane
Orbital Space Plane
The Orbital Space Plane program was a NASA concept designed to support the International Space Station requirements for crew rescue, crew transport and contingency cargo such as supplies, food and other needed equipment...

 (OSP), which itself was proposed after the failure of the Lockheed Martin X-33
Lockheed Martin X-33
The Lockheed Martin X-33 was an unmanned, sub-scale technology demonstrator suborbital spaceplane developed in the 1990s under the U.S. government-funded Space Launch Initiative program. The X-33 was a technology demonstrator for the VentureStar orbital spaceplane, which was planned to be a...

 program to produce a replacement for the space shuttle.

The name is derived from the constellation of Orion
Orion (constellation)
Orion, often referred to as The Hunter, is a prominent constellation located on the celestial equator and visible throughout the world. It is one of the most conspicuous, and most recognizable constellations in the night sky...

, and was also used on the Apollo 16
Apollo 16
Young and Duke served as the backup crew for Apollo 13; Mattingly was slated to be the Apollo 13 command module pilot until being pulled from the mission due to his exposure to rubella through Duke.-Backup crew:...

 Lunar Module
Apollo Lunar Module
The Apollo Lunar Module was the lander portion of the Apollo spacecraft built for the US Apollo program by Grumman to carry a crew of two from lunar orbit to the surface and back...

 that carried astronauts John W. Young and Charlie Duke to the lunar surface in April 1972.

After the replacement of Sean O'Keefe
Sean O'Keefe
Sean O'Keefe is the CEO of EADS North America, a subsidiary of the European aerospace firm EADS, a former Administrator of NASA, and former chancellor of Louisiana State University . O'Keefe is also a former member of the board of directors of DuPont...

, NASA's procurement schedule and strategy completely changed, as described above. In July 2004, before he was named NASA administrator, Michael Griffin participated in a study called "Extending Human Presence Into the Solar System" for The Planetary Society
Planetary Society
The Planetary Society is a large, publicly supported, non-government and non-profit organization that has many research projects related to astronomy...

, as a co-team leader. The study offers a strategy for carrying out Project Constellation in an affordable and achievable manner. Since Griffin was one of the leaders of the study, it can be assumed that he agrees with its conclusions, and the study may show insight into possible future developments of the CEV. Griffin's actions as administrator supported the goals of the plan.

According to the executive summary, the study was built around "a staged approach to human exploration beyond low Earth orbit (LEO)." It recommends that Project Constellation be carried out in three distinct stages. These are:
  • Stage 1 – "Features the development of a new crew exploration vehicle (CEV), the completion of the International Space Station (ISS), and an early retirement of the shuttle orbiter. Orbiter retirement would be made as soon as the ISS U.S. Core is completed (perhaps only 6 or 7 flights) and the smallest number of additional flights necessary to satisfy our international partners’ ISS requirements. Money saved by early orbiter retirement would be used to accelerate the CEV development schedule to minimize or eliminate any hiatus in U.S. capability to reach and return from LEO."
  • Stage 2 – "Requires the development of additional assets, including an uprated CEV capable of extended missions of many months in interplanetary space. Habitation, laboratory, consumables, and propulsion modules, to enable human flight to the vicinities of the Moon and Mars, the Lagrange points, and certain near-Earth asteroids."
  • Stage 3 – "Development of human-rated planetary landers is completed in Stage 3, allowing human missions to the surface of the Moon and Mars beginning around 2020."


A number of changes to the original CEV acquisition strategy were explained in a NASA study called the Exploration Systems Architecture Study
Exploration Systems Architecture Study
The Exploration Systems Architecture Study is the official title of a large-scale, system level study released by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in November 2005 in response to American president George W...

. The results were presented at a news conference held on September 19, 2005. The ESAS recommends strategies for flying the manned Orion by 2014, and endorses a Lunar Orbit Rendezvous
Lunar orbit rendezvous
Lunar orbit rendezvous is a key concept for human landing on the Moon and returning to Earth.In a LOR mission a main spacecraft and a smaller lunar module travel together into lunar orbit. The lunar module then independently descends to the lunar surface. After completion of the mission there, a...

 approach to the Moon. The LEO versions of Orion was intended carry crews of four to six to the ISS. The lunar version of the Orion would carry a crew of four and the Mars Orion would carry six. Cargo would also be carried aboard an unmanned version of Orion, similar to the Russian Progress
Progress spacecraft
The Progress is a Russian expendable freighter spacecraft. The spacecraft is an unmanned resupply spacecraft during its flight but upon docking with a space station, it allows astronauts inside, hence it is classified manned by the manufacturer. It was derived from the Soyuz spacecraft, and is...

 cargo ships. The contractor for the Orion is Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin is an American global aerospace, defense, security, and advanced technology company with worldwide interests. It was formed by the merger of Lockheed Corporation with Martin Marietta in March 1995. It is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, in the Washington Metropolitan Area....

, which was selected by NASA in September, 2006 and is the current contractor for the Space Shuttle's External Tank and the Atlas V
Atlas V
Atlas V is an active expendable launch system in the Atlas rocket family. Atlas V was formerly operated by Lockheed Martin, and is now operated by the Lockheed Martin-Boeing joint venture United Launch Alliance...

 EELV.

The Orion spacecraft (CEV) will be an Apollo-like capsule, not a lifting body
Lifting body
A lifting body is a fixed-wing aircraft configuration in which the body itself produces lift. In contrast to a flying wing, which is a wing with minimal or no conventional fuselage, a lifting body can be thought of as a fuselage with little or no conventional wing...

 or wing
Wing
A wing is an appendage with a surface that produces lift for flight or propulsion through the atmosphere, or through another gaseous or liquid fluid...

ed vehicle like the current Shuttle. Like the Apollo Command Module, Orion would be attached to a service module for life support and propulsion. It is intended to land in water but past versions had included plans for it to land on land. Landing on the west coast would allow the majority of the reentry path to be flown over the Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

 rather than populated areas. Orion will have an AVCOAT
AVCOAT 5026-39
AVCOAT 5026-39 is a NASA code for a specific ablative heat shield created by Avco .It is an epoxy novolac resin with special additives in a fiberglass honeycomb matrix...

 ablative heat shield that would be discarded after each use.

The Orion spacecraft (CEV) would weigh about 25 tons (23 tonnes) ... almost four times the mass of the Apollo Command Module at 6.4 tons (5.8 tonnes) ... and, with a diameter of 16.5 feet (5 metres) vice 12.8 feet (3.9 metres) provide 2.5 times greater volume.

Accelerated lunar mission development is slated to start by 2010, once the Shuttle is retired. The Lunar Surface Access Module (LSAM) and heavy-lift boosters would be developed in parallel and would both be ready for flight by 2018. The eventual goal is to achieve a lunar landing by 2020. The LSAM would be much larger than the Apollo Lunar Module
Apollo Lunar Module
The Apollo Lunar Module was the lander portion of the Apollo spacecraft built for the US Apollo program by Grumman to carry a crew of two from lunar orbit to the surface and back...

 and is anticipated to be capable of carrying up to around 23 tons (21 tonnes) of cargo to the lunar surface to support a lunar outpost
Lunar outpost (NASA)
A lunar outpost was an element of the George W. Bush era Vision for Space Exploration, which has been replaced with President Barack Obama's space policy. The outpost would have been an inhabited facility on the surface of the Moon. At the time it was proposed, NASA was to construct the outpost...

 (t.b.d.). This weight in cargo is greater than the mass of the entire Apollo Lunar Module
Apollo Lunar Module
The Apollo Lunar Module was the lander portion of the Apollo spacecraft built for the US Apollo program by Grumman to carry a crew of two from lunar orbit to the surface and back...

.

Like the Apollo Lunar Module, the LSAM would include a descent stage for landing and an ascent stage for returning to orbit. The crew of four would ride in the ascent stage. The ascent stage would be powered by a methane
Methane
Methane is a chemical compound with the chemical formula . It is the simplest alkane, the principal component of natural gas, and probably the most abundant organic compound on earth. The relative abundance of methane makes it an attractive fuel...

/oxygen
Oxygen
Oxygen is the element with atomic number 8 and represented by the symbol O. Its name derives from the Greek roots ὀξύς and -γενής , because at the time of naming, it was mistakenly thought that all acids required oxygen in their composition...

 fuel for return to lunar orbit (later changed to liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen, due to the infancy of oxygen/methane rocket propulsion). This would allow a derivative of the same lander to be used on later Mars missions, where methane propellant can be manufactured from the Martian soil in a process known as in-situ resource utilization
In-Situ Resource Utilization
In space exploration, in-situ resource utilization describes the proposed use of resources found or manufactured on other astronomical objects to further the goals of a space mission....

 (ISRU). The LSAM would support the crew of four on the lunar surface for about a week and use advanced roving vehicles to explore the lunar surface. The huge amount of cargo carried by the LSAM would be extremely beneficial for supporting a lunar base and for bringing large amounts of scientific equipment to the lunar surface.

Design revisions and updates



July 2006 design revisions
In late July 2006 NASA's second design review resulted in major changes to the spacecraft design. Originally, NASA wanted to use liquid methane
Methane
Methane is a chemical compound with the chemical formula . It is the simplest alkane, the principal component of natural gas, and probably the most abundant organic compound on earth. The relative abundance of methane makes it an attractive fuel...

 (LCH4) as the SM fuel, but due to the infancy of oxygen/methane-powered rocket technologies and the need to launch the Orion by 2012, the switch to hypergolic propellants was mandated in late July 2006. This switch will allow NASA to man-rate the Orion and Ares I stack by no later than 2011, and eliminate one potential cause of the gap between the shuttle's retirement in 2010 and the first manned Orion flight.
April 2007 contract revision
On April 20, 2007 NASA and Lockheed-Martin signed a modification to the Orion contract. The updated contract adds two years to the Orion project design phase, adds two test flights of Orion's launch abort system, and deletes from the initial design phase production of a pressurized cargo carrier for the International Space Station.

May 2007 design update
An article in "Aerospace Daily & Defense Report" indicates that in the latest Orion design revision, called configuration "606" by Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin is an American global aerospace, defense, security, and advanced technology company with worldwide interests. It was formed by the merger of Lockheed Corporation with Martin Marietta in March 1995. It is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, in the Washington Metropolitan Area....

, the service module will have exterior panels that are jettisoned shortly after the second stage engine of the Ares I
Ares I
Ares I was the crew launch vehicle that was being developed by NASA as part of the Constellation Program. The name "Ares" refers to the Greek deity Ares, who is identified with the Roman god Mars...

 ignites. This configuration will save 1,000 pounds of the mass compared with the prior "605" configuration.

August 2007 design update
On August 5, a report surfaced stating that the airbag landing system was removed from the next Orion design cycle ("607") in a weight saving measure, opting to return to an Apollo-style splashdown for the vehicle's end of mission.

2009 Human Space Flight Plans Committee


On September 8, 2009, the Human Space Flight Plans Committee
Review of United States Human Space Flight Plans Committee
The Review of United States Human Space Flight Plans Committee was a group reviewing the human spaceflight plans of the United States...

 was scheduled to release a report proposing a short list of different long term plans for the US Government's human space flight program. The review was commissioned by the Obama Administration to take into account several objectives. These include support for the International Space Station
International Space Station
The International Space Station is a habitable, artificial satellite in low Earth orbit. The ISS follows the Salyut, Almaz, Cosmos, Skylab, and Mir space stations, as the 11th space station launched, not including the Genesis I and II prototypes...

, development of missions beyond low Earth orbit
Low Earth orbit
A low Earth orbit is generally defined as an orbit within the locus extending from the Earth’s surface up to an altitude of 2,000 km...

 (including the Moon
Moon
The Moon is Earth's only known natural satellite,There are a number of near-Earth asteroids including 3753 Cruithne that are co-orbital with Earth: their orbits bring them close to Earth for periods of time but then alter in the long term . These are quasi-satellites and not true moons. For more...

) and use of commercial space industry. These objectives must fit within a defined budget profile.

Among the parameters to be considered in the course of the review are "crew and mission safety, life-cycle costs, development time, national space industrial base impacts, potential to spur innovation and encourage competition, and the implications and impacts of transitioning from current human space flight systems". The review considered the appropriate amounts of research and development and "complementary robotic activity necessary to support various human space flight activities". It also "explores options for extending International Space Station operations beyond 2016".

Funding and expected cost


President Bush's budget request for Fiscal Year 2005 included "$428 million for Project Constellation ($6.6 billion over five years) to develop a new crew exploration vehicle". The budget for FY2005 was confirmed by the Congress in November 2004 with full funding for the CEV.

The FY2006 budget request includes $753 million for continuing development of the CEV. the total development costs of the CEV are estimated at $15 billion.

Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin is an American global aerospace, defense, security, and advanced technology company with worldwide interests. It was formed by the merger of Lockheed Corporation with Martin Marietta in March 1995. It is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, in the Washington Metropolitan Area....

's contract for the initial "Schedule A" part of the Orion project, awarded on August 31, 2006 and running through 2013, is worth $3.9 billion. Additional development options in the "Schedule B" part of the contract could be worth up to another $3.5 billion.

Although to date the exploration systems have received full funding and a House endorsement, there was a possibility that rising shuttle Return To Flight
STS-114
-Original crew:This mission was to carry the Expedition 7 crew to the ISS and bring home the Expedition 6 crew. The original crew was to be:-Mission highlights:...

 costs would make funding of CEV development extremely difficult. There has been discussion of either obtaining a special supplemental from Congress to pay for the extra shuttle costs, or of involving private industry in CEV development and operations. The total funding of Project Constellation through 2025, inflation-adjusted and without any other increases to NASA's budget, is estimated at $210 billion; the ESAS estimates the cost of the program through that date at being only $7 billion more, at $217 billion. This cost may in fact end up lower as it includes developing new engines for the EDS instead of the newer idea of using J-2 derivatives.

The White House's Augustine Commission estimated that after development of the Orion and its Ares I launch vehicle is completed, the system will have a recurring cost of nearly $1 billion per flight.

Design



The Orion Crew and Service Module (CSM) stack consists of two main parts: a conical Crew Module (CM), and a cylindrical Service Module (SM) holding the spacecraft's propulsion system and expendable supplies. Both are based substantially on the Apollo Command and Service Modules
Apollo Command/Service Module
The Command/Service Module was one of two spacecraft, along with the Lunar Module, used for the United States Apollo program which landed astronauts on the Moon. It was built for NASA by North American Aviation...

 (Apollo CSM) flown between 1967 and 1975, but include advances derived from the space shuttle program. "Going with known technology and known solutions lowers the risk," according to Neil Woodward, director of the integration office in the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate.

Crew Module


The Orion CM will hold four to six crew members, compared to a maximum of three in the smaller Apollo CM or seven in the larger space shuttle. Despite its conceptual resemblance to the 1960s-era Apollo, Orion's CM will use several improved technologies, including:
  • "Glass cockpit
    Glass cockpit
    A glass cockpit is an aircraft cockpit that features electronic instrument displays, typically large LCD screens, as opposed to the traditional style of analog dials and gauges...

    " digital control systems derived from that of the Boeing 787
    Boeing 787
    The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is a long-range, mid-size wide-body, twin-engine jet airliner developed by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. It seats 210 to 290 passengers, depending on the variant. Boeing states that it is the company's most fuel-efficient airliner and the world's first major airliner to use...

    .
  • An "autodock" feature, like those of Russian Progress spacecraft
    Progress spacecraft
    The Progress is a Russian expendable freighter spacecraft. The spacecraft is an unmanned resupply spacecraft during its flight but upon docking with a space station, it allows astronauts inside, hence it is classified manned by the manufacturer. It was derived from the Soyuz spacecraft, and is...

     and the European Automated Transfer Vehicle
    Automated Transfer Vehicle
    The Automated Transfer Vehicle or ATV is an expendable, unmanned resupply spacecraft developed by the European Space Agency . ATVs are designed to supply the International Space Station with propellant, water, air, payload and experiments...

    , with provision for the flight crew to take over in an emergency. Previous American spacecraft (Gemini, Apollo, and Space Shuttle) have all required manual piloting for docking.
  • Improved waste-management facilities, with a miniature camping-style toilet and the unisex "relief tube" used on the space shuttle (whose system was based on that used on Skylab
    Skylab
    Skylab was a space station launched and operated by NASA, the space agency of the United States. Skylab orbited the Earth from 1973 to 1979, and included a workshop, a solar observatory, and other systems. It was launched unmanned by a modified Saturn V rocket, with a mass of...

    ) and the International Space Station (based on the Soyuz, Salyut, and Mir systems). This eliminates the use of the much-hated plastic "Apollo bags" used by the Apollo crews.
  • A nitrogen/oxygen (N2/O2) mixed atmosphere at either sea level (101.3 kPa (14.7 psi)) or slightly reduced (55.2 to 70.3 kPa (8 to 10.2 psi)) pressure.
  • Much more advanced computers than on previous manned spacecraft.

Another feature will be the partial reusability of the Orion CM. NASA aims to reuse each craft for up to ten flights, allowing it to build a fleet of both manned and unmanned Orion CMs. Both the CM and SM will be constructed of the aluminium lithium
Al-Li
Al-Li alloys are a series of alloys of aluminium and lithium, often also including copper and zirconium. Since lithium is the least dense elemental metal these alloys are significantly less dense than aluminium...

 (Al/Li) alloy currently used on the shuttle's external tank
Space Shuttle external tank
A Space Shuttle External Tank is the component of the Space Shuttle launch vehicle that contains the liquid hydrogen fuel and liquid oxygen oxidizer. During lift-off and ascent it supplies the fuel and oxidizer under pressure to the three Space Shuttle Main Engines in the orbiter...

, and the Delta IV
Delta IV rocket
Delta IV is an active expendable launch system in the Delta rocket family. Delta IV uses rockets designed by Boeing's Integrated Defense Systems division and built in the United Launch Alliance facility in Decatur, Alabama. Final assembly is completed at the launch site by ULA...

 and Atlas V
Atlas V
Atlas V is an active expendable launch system in the Atlas rocket family. Atlas V was formerly operated by Lockheed Martin, and is now operated by the Lockheed Martin-Boeing joint venture United Launch Alliance...

 rockets. The CM itself will be covered in the same Nomex
Nomex
Nomex is a registered trademark for flame resistant meta-aramid material developed in the early 1960s by DuPont and first marketed in 1967.- Properties:...

 felt-like thermal protection blankets used on parts on the shuttle not subject to critical heating, such as the payload bay doors. The reusable recovery parachutes will be based on the parachutes used on both the Apollo spacecraft and the Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Booster
Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Booster
The Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Boosters were the pair of large solid rockets used by the United States' NASA Space Shuttle during the first two minutes of powered flight. Together they provided about 83% of liftoff thrust for the Space Shuttle. They were located on either side of the rusty or...

s, and will also use the same Nomex cloth for construction. Water landings will be the exclusive means of recovery for the Orion CM.

To allow the Orion spacecraft to service the International Space Station, and to mate with other Constellation vehicles, it will use a new Low Impact Docking System
Low Impact Docking System
The NASA Docking System or international Low Impact Docking System is a spacecraft docking and berthing mechanism being developed by NASA for the next generation of space exploration vehicles, such as the Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle and the Commercial Crew vehicles...

, a simplified version of the universal docking ring
Androgynous Peripheral Attach System
The Androgynous Peripheral Attach System, or Androgynous Peripheral Assembly System, is a spacecraft docking mechanism used on the International Space Station. It is used to dock the Space Shuttle orbiter and to connect the Functional Cargo Block to Pressurized Mating Adapter-1...

 currently used on the shuttle fleet, which itself was a Soviet design that originated during the 1975 Apollo-Soyuz Test Project
Apollo-Soyuz Test Project
-Backup crew:-Crew notes:Jack Swigert had originally been assigned as the command module pilot for the ASTP prime crew, but prior to the official announcement he was removed as punishment for his involvement in the Apollo 15 postage stamp scandal.-Soyuz crew:...

. Both the spacecraft and docking adapter will employ a Launch Escape System
Launch escape system
A Launch Escape System is a top-mounted rocket connected to the crew module of a crewed spacecraft and used to quickly separate the crew module from the rest of the rocket in case of emergency. Since the escape rockets are above the crew module, an LES typically uses separate nozzles which are...

 (LES) like that used in Mercury and Apollo, along with an Apollo-derived "Boost Protective Cover" (made of fiberglass
Fiberglass
Glass fiber is a material consisting of numerous extremely fine fibers of glass.Glassmakers throughout history have experimented with glass fibers, but mass manufacture of glass fiber was only made possible with the invention of finer machine tooling...

), to protect the Orion CM from aerodynamic and impact stresses during the first 2½ minutes of ascent.

The Orion Crew Module (CM) is a 57.5° frustum
Frustum
In geometry, a frustum is the portion of a solid that lies between two parallel planes cutting it....

 shape, similar to that of the Apollo Command Module. As projected, the CM will be 5.02 metre in diameter and 3.3 metre in length, with a mass of about 8.5 metric tons (18,739.3 lb). It is to be built by the Lockheed Martin Corporation. It will have more than 2.5 times the volume of an Apollo capsule, which had an interior volume of 5.9 m³ (208.4 cu ft), and will carry four to six astronauts. After extensive study, NASA has selected the Avcoat ablator
Ablation
Ablation is removal of material from the surface of an object by vaporization, chipping, or other erosive processes. This occurs in spaceflight during ascent and atmospheric reentry, glaciology, medicine, and passive fire protection.-Spaceflight:...

 system for the Orion crew module. Avcoat, which is composed of silica fiber
Silica fiber
Silica fibers made of sodium silicate are used in heat protection and in packings and compensators...

s with a resin in a honeycomb made of fiberglass
Fiberglass
Glass fiber is a material consisting of numerous extremely fine fibers of glass.Glassmakers throughout history have experimented with glass fibers, but mass manufacture of glass fiber was only made possible with the invention of finer machine tooling...

 and phenolic resin, was previously used on the Apollo missions and on select areas of the space shuttle for early flights.

Service module


The service module designed for Orion will serve as the primary power and propulsion component of the spacecraft system, and like its predecessors, will be discarded at the end of each mission. Roughly cylindrical in shape, the Orion service module, like the crew module, will be constructed of Al-Li
Al-Li
Al-Li alloys are a series of alloys of aluminium and lithium, often also including copper and zirconium. Since lithium is the least dense elemental metal these alloys are significantly less dense than aluminium...

 alloy (to keep weight down), and will feature a pair of deployable circular solar panels
Photovoltaic module
A solar panel is a packaged, connected assembly of solar cells, also known as photovoltaic cells...

, similar in design to the panels used on the Mars Phoenix lander. The panels, the first to be used on a U.S. manned spacecraft (except for a 10-year period, the Soviet/Russian Soyuz spacecraft
Soyuz spacecraft
Soyuz , Union) is a series of spacecraft initially designed for the Soviet space programme by the Korolyov Design Bureau in the 1960s, and still in service today...

 has used them since the first mission in 1967), will allow NASA to eliminate the need to carry malfunction-prone fuel cells, and its associated hardware (mainly LH2 tanks) from the service module, resulting in a shorter, yet more maneuverable spacecraft. Successful initial testing of an Orion solar array design using full-scale "UltraFlex wing" hardware was reported in October, 2008.

The Orion Main Engine (OME) is a 7500-pound thrust, pressure-fed, regeneratively cooled, storable bi-propellant, rocket engine made by Aerojet. The OME is an increased performance version of the 6000-pound thrust rocket engine used by the Space Shuttle for its Orbital Maneuvering System (OMS). The SM Reaction Control System (RCS), the spacecraft's maneuvering thrusters (originally based on the Apollo "quad" system, but currently resembles that used on Gemini), will also be pressure-fed, and will use the same propellants. NASA believes the SM RCS would be able to act as a backup for a trans-Earth injection (TEI) burn in case the main SM engine fails.

A pair of LOX tanks (similar to those used in the Apollo SM) will provide, along with small tanks of nitrogen, the crew with breathing air at sea-level or "cruising altitude" pressure (10.2 to 14.7 psi), with a small "surge tank" providing necessary life support during reentry and touchdown. Lithium hydroxide
Lithium hydroxide
Lithium hydroxide is an inorganic compound with the formula LiOH. It is a white hygroscopic crystalline material. It is soluble in water and slightly soluble in ethanol...

 (LiOH) cartridges will recycle the spacecraft's environmental system by "scrubbing" the carbon dioxide (CO2) exhaled by the astronauts from ship's air and adding fresh oxygen and nitrogen, which is then cycled back out into the system loop. Because of the switch from fuel cells to solar panels, the service module will have an onboard water tank which will provide drinking water for the crew, and (when mixed with glycol), cooling water for the spacecraft's electronics. Unlike the practice during Apollo of dumping both water and urine overboard during the flight, the Orion will have an onboard recycling system, identical to that used on the International Space Station
International Space Station
The International Space Station is a habitable, artificial satellite in low Earth orbit. The ISS follows the Salyut, Almaz, Cosmos, Skylab, and Mir space stations, as the 11th space station launched, not including the Genesis I and II prototypes...

, that will convert both waste water and urine into both drinking and cooling water.

The Service Module also mounts the spacecraft's waste heat management system (its radiators) and the aforementioned solar panels
Photovoltaic module
A solar panel is a packaged, connected assembly of solar cells, also known as photovoltaic cells...

. These panels, along with backup batteries located in the Orion CM, will provide in-flight power to the ship's systems. The voltage, 28 volt
Volt
The volt is the SI derived unit for electric potential, electric potential difference, and electromotive force. The volt is named in honor of the Italian physicist Alessandro Volta , who invented the voltaic pile, possibly the first chemical battery.- Definition :A single volt is defined as the...

s DC
Direct current
Direct current is the unidirectional flow of electric charge. Direct current is produced by such sources as batteries, thermocouples, solar cells, and commutator-type electric machines of the dynamo type. Direct current may flow in a conductor such as a wire, but can also flow through...

, is similar to that used on the Apollo spacecraft during flight.

Like the Orion crew module, the Orion service module will be encapsulated by a fiberglass shroud that would be jettisoned at the same time as the LES/Boost Protective Cover, which would take place roughly 2½ minutes after launch (30 seconds after the solid rocket first stage is jettisoned). Prior to the "Orion 606" redesign, the Orion SM resembled a squat, enlarged version of the Apollo Service Module. The new "Orion 606" SM design retains the 5-meter width for the attachments of the Orion SM with the Orion CM, but utilizes a Soyuz-like service module design that allows Lockheed Martin to make the vehicle lighter in weight and permitting the attachment of the circular solar panels at the module's mid-points, like that of the Soyuz, instead of at the base near the spacecraft/rocket adapter, which may subject the panels to damage.

The Orion service module (SM) is projected comprising a cylindrical
Cylinder (geometry)
A cylinder is one of the most basic curvilinear geometric shapes, the surface formed by the points at a fixed distance from a given line segment, the axis of the cylinder. The solid enclosed by this surface and by two planes perpendicular to the axis is also called a cylinder...

 shape, having a diameter of 5.03 m (16 ft 6 in) and an overall length (including thruster) of 4.78 m (15 ft 8 in). With solar panels extended, span is either 17.00 m (55.77 ft) or 55.00 ft (16.76 m). The projected empty mass is 3,700 kg (8,000 lb), fuel capacity is 8,300 kg (18,000 lb).

Launch Abort System


In the event of an emergency on the launch pad
Launch pad
A launch pad is the area and facilities where rockets or spacecraft lift off. A spaceport can contain one or many launch pads. A typical launch pad consists of the service and umbilical structures. The service structure provides an access platform to inspect the launch vehicle prior to launch....

 or during ascent, a launch escape system
Launch escape system
A Launch Escape System is a top-mounted rocket connected to the crew module of a crewed spacecraft and used to quickly separate the crew module from the rest of the rocket in case of emergency. Since the escape rockets are above the crew module, an LES typically uses separate nozzles which are...

 called the Launch Abort System (LAS) will separate the Crew Module from the launch vehicle using a solid rocket
Solid rocket
A solid rocket or a solid-fuel rocket is a rocket engine that uses solid propellants . The earliest rockets were solid-fuel rockets powered by gunpowder; they were used by the Chinese in warfare as early as the 13th century and later by the Mongols, Arabs, and Indians.All rockets used some form of...

-powered launch abort motor (AM), which is more powerful than the Atlas 109-D
Atlas (rocket family)
Atlas is a family of U.S. space launch vehicles. The original Atlas missile was designed in the late 1950s and produced by the Convair Division of General Dynamics, to be used as an intercontinental ballistic missile...

 booster that launched astronaut John Glenn
John Glenn
John Herschel Glenn, Jr. is a former United States Marine Corps pilot, astronaut, and United States senator who was the first American to orbit the Earth and the third American in space. Glenn was a Marine Corps fighter pilot before joining NASA's Mercury program as a member of NASA's original...

 into orbit in 1962. There are two other propulsion systems in the LAS stack: the attitude control motor (ACM) and the jettison motor (JM). On July 10, 2007, Orbital Sciences, the prime contractor for the LAS, awarded Alliant Techsystems
Alliant Techsystems
Alliant Techsystems Inc., most commonly known by its ticker symbol, ', is one of the largest aerospace and defense companies in the United States with more than 18,000 employees in 22 states, Puerto Rico and internationally, and 2010 revenues in excess of an estimated...

 (ATK) a $62.5 million sub-contract to, "design, develop, produce, test and deliver the launch abort motor." ATK, which has the prime contract for the first stage of the Ares I
Ares I
Ares I was the crew launch vehicle that was being developed by NASA as part of the Constellation Program. The name "Ares" refers to the Greek deity Ares, who is identified with the Roman god Mars...

 rocket, intends to use an innovative "reverse flow" design for the motor. On July 9, 2008 NASA announced that ATK has completed a vertical test stand at a facility in Promontory, Utah
Promontory, Utah
Promontory in Box Elder County, Utah, United States, is notable as the location of Promontory Summit where the United States' Transcontinental Railroad was officially completed on May 10, 1869....

 to test launch abort motors for the Orion spacecraft. Another long-time space motor contractor, Aerojet
Aerojet
Aerojet is an American rocket and missile propulsion manufacturer based primarily in Rancho Cordova, California with divisions in Redmond, Washington, Orange, Gainesville and Camden, Arkansas. Aerojet is owned by GenCorp. They are the only US propulsion company that provides both solid rocket...

, was awarded the jettison motor design and development contract for the LAS. As of September 2008 Aerojet has, along with team members Orbital Sciences, Lockheed Martin and NASA, successfully demonstrated two full-scale test firings of the jettison motor. This motor is important to every flight in that it functions to pull the LAS tower away from the vehicle after a successful launch. The motor also functions in the same manner for an abort scenario.

Another idea, recently floated by NASA, would see the LAS tower being replaced with the so-called Max Launch Abort System
Max Launch Abort System
The Max Launch Abort System is a proposed alternative to the Max Faget-invented "tractor" Launch Escape System currently planned for use by NASA for its Orion spacecraft in the event an Ares I malfunction during launch requires an immediate abort.A "pad abort" flight test of the MLAS was...

 (MLAS), in which four existing solid-rocket motors, integrated into the boost protective cover and placed at 90° intervals, would fire and pull the Orion crew module away from an Ares I rocket in the event of a launchpad or in-flight abort during the first 2½ minutes of launch. If implemented in place of the LAS, the MLAS would allow NASA to reduce further weight of the Orion/Ares I stack (which has been described by critics as being overweight) and the design, which is shaped like a bullet, would reduce stresses on both the spacecraft and the launch vehicle, as well as reducing the overall height by 20–25 feet.

Abort tests


ATK successfully completed the first Orion launch-abort test on November 20, 2008. The abort motor will provide 500000 lbf (2,224.1 kN) of thrust for an emergency on the launch pad or during the first 300000 feet (91.4 km) of the rocket's climb to orbit. The test firing was the first time a motor with reverse flow propulsion technology at this scale has been tested.

This abort test firing brought together a series of motor and component tests conducted in 2008 as a preparation for the next major milestone, a full-size mock-up or boilerplate test scheduled for the spring of 2009.

Pathfinder


On March 2, 2009, the LAS Pathfinder began its transfer from the Langley Research Center to the White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, for launch tests. The Pathfinder is a combination of the Orion Boilerplate and LAS module. The 45 ft (13.7 m)-long rocket assembly will begin its first Pad Abort 1 Test on the Missile Range.

Acquisition strategy


The Space Frontier Foundation
Space Frontier Foundation
The Space Frontier Foundation is a space advocacy nonprofit corporation organized to promote the interests of increased involvement of the private sector, in collaboration with government, in the exploration and development of space...

 has asserted that the $3.9 billion
1000000000 (number)
1,000,000,000 is the natural number following 999,999,999 and preceding 1,000,000,001.In scientific notation, it is written as 109....

 initial phase of the Orion contract essentially duplicates the functionality of NASA's $500 million Commercial Orbital Transportation Services
Commercial Orbital Transportation Services
Commercial Orbital Transportation Services is a NASA program to coordinate the delivery of crew and cargo to the International Space Station by private companies. The program was announced on January 18, 2006...

 (COTS) program. Additionally, NASA's contract with Lockheed Martin is a cost-plus contract
Cost-plus contract
A cost-plus contract, also termed a Cost Reimbursement Contract, is a contract where a contractor is paid for all of its allowed expenses to a set limit plus additional payment to allow for a profit. Cost-reimbursement contracts contrast with fixed-price contract, in which the contractor is paid a...

, a contracting method which has been criticized for being prone to cost overruns and delays, while contractors in the COTS only receive payment for successes. The U.S. Government Accountability Office
Government Accountability Office
The Government Accountability Office is the audit, evaluation, and investigative arm of the United States Congress. It is located in the legislative branch of the United States government.-History:...

 (GAO) is also critical of NASA, saying, "NASA's current acquisition strategy for the CEV places the project at risk of significant cost overruns, schedule delays, and performance shortfalls because it commits the government to a long-term product development effort before establishing a sound business case."

Environmental testing


NASA performed environmental testing of Orion from 2007 to 2011 at the Glenn Research Center
Glenn Research Center
NASA John H. Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field is a NASA center, located within the cities of Brook Park, Cleveland and Fairview Park, Ohio between Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and the Cleveland Metroparks's Rocky River Reservation, and has other subsidiary facilities in Ohio...

 Plum Brook Station in Sandusky, Ohio
Sandusky, Ohio
Sandusky is a city in the U.S. state of Ohio and the county seat of Erie County. It is located in northern Ohio and is situated on the shores of Lake Erie, almost exactly half-way between Toledo to the west and Cleveland to the east....

. The Center's Space Power Facility
Space Power Facility
The Space Power Facility is a vacuum chamber built by NASA in 1969. It stands 122 feet high and 100 feet in diameter, enclosing a bullet-shaped space. It is the world's largest thermal vacuum chamber. It was originally commissioned for nuclear-electric power studies under vacuum conditions, but...

 is the world's largest thermal vacuum chamber.

Abort Flight Test (AFT)



NASA will perform a series of six Abort Flight Tests between the fall of 2008 and the end of 2011 at the United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

's White Sands Missile Range
White Sands Missile Range
White Sands Missile Range is a rocket range of almost in parts of five counties in southern New Mexico. The largest military installation in the United States, WSMR includes the and the WSMR Otera Mesa bombing range...

 (WSMR), New Mexico. The Orion AFT subproject includes two pad abort test
Pad abort test
A pad abort test is a test of a launch escape system to determine how well the system could get the crew of a spacecraft to safety in an emergency on the launch pad.- Project Mercury :Section sources....

s and four ascent abort tests. Three of the four ascent aborts are planned to be flown from a special test launch vehicle, the Orion Abort Test Booster
Orion Abort Test Booster
The Orion Abort Test Booster is a small solid rocket launcher which will be developed by Orbital Sciences Corporation under contract by U.S...

, the fourth one being performed with Ares I-Y
Ares I-Y
Ares I-Y was to be a structural test flight in the Ares I spacecraft development program. The test flight vehicle would have been similar to the Ares I-X mission, launched on October 28, 2009...

. The Orion Abort Flight Tests are similar in nature to the Little Joe II
Little Joe II
Little Joe II was an American space launch vehicle used for five unmanned tests of the launch escape system and to verify the performance of the command module parachutes for the Apollo spacecraft from 1963–66...

 tests performed at WSMR between September 1963 and January 1966 in support of the development of the Apollo program's Launch Escape System
Launch escape system
A Launch Escape System is a top-mounted rocket connected to the crew module of a crewed spacecraft and used to quickly separate the crew module from the rest of the rocket in case of emergency. Since the escape rockets are above the crew module, an LES typically uses separate nozzles which are...

. The LAS Pathfinder boilerplate is being used.

Post-landing Orion Recovery Test (PORT)


The PORT Test is to determine and evaluate what kind of motions the astronaut crew can expect after landing. This will include conditions outside the capsule for the recovery team. The evaluation process will support NASA's design of landing recovery operations including equipment, ship and crew necessities.

The Port Test will use a full-scale boilerplate of NASA's Orion crew module and will be tested in water under simulated and real weather conditions. Tests began March 23, 2009 with a Navy-built, 18,000-pound boilerplate. It will be placed in a test pool at the Naval Surface Warfare Center's Carderock Division in West Bethesda, Md. Full sea testing will begin April 6, 2009, in a special location off the coast of NASA's Kennedy Space Center with media coverage.

Original Schedule


NASA had hoped to follow this (now obsolete) schedule in development of the Orion:
  • 2006–2007 — Engineering review of selected design
  • May 6, 2010 — PA-1
    Pad Abort 1 (Orion)
    Pad Abort 1 was a flight test of the Orion Launch Abort System . Orion is a component of Constellation, a human spaceflight project within NASA, the space agency of the United States...

     (Pad Abort-1) unmanned pad abort test
    Pad abort test
    A pad abort test is a test of a launch escape system to determine how well the system could get the crew of a spacecraft to safety in an emergency on the launch pad.- Project Mercury :Section sources....

    .
  • 2009 (Sep) — AA-1 (Ascent Abort-1) unmanned ascent abort test (transonic
    Transonic
    Transonic speed is an aeronautics term referring to the condition of flight in which a range of velocities of airflow exist surrounding and flowing past an air vehicle or an airfoil that are concurrently below, at, and above the speed of sound in the range of Mach 0.8 to 1.2, i.e. 600–900 mph...

    )
  • 2010 (Spring) — PA-2 unmanned pad abort test
  • 2010 (August) — AA-2 unmanned ascent abort test (Max Q
    Max Q
    In aerospace engineering, the maximum dynamic pressure, often referred to as maximum Q or max Q, is the point at which aerodynamic stress on a vehicle in atmospheric flight is maximized...

    )
  • 2011 (February) — AA-3 unmanned ascent abort test (low-altitude tumble test)
  • 2012 (September) — Ares I-Y unmanned ascent abort test (high altitude)
  • 2014 — First unmanned flight of Orion in Earth orbit
  • 2016 — First manned flight of Orion in Earth orbit.
  • 2015–2018 — First unmanned flight of Altair.
  • 2016–2018 First manned flight of Altair.
  • 2019 First manned lunar landing with Orion/Altair system.
  • 2020 Review of Mars missions
  • 2031 The Mission to Mars has tentative dates

Existing craft and mockup models


This is a list of the mockups that look like a whole crew module or other major component of Orion. There are other simulators that are just cockpits and smaller components, but those may be even more difficult to keep current. The flight crew module will be predominantly white (as opposed to silver).
  • Lockheed Martin
    • Houston: Exploration Development Laboratory has a Low-Fidelity Crew Module Human Engineering Mockup
    • Kennedy Space Center Operations & Checkout Facility: full scale Crew Module Pathfinder
    • Michoud: Crew Module Ground Test Article is currently being built
    • Denver: Lockheed Space Operations Simulation Center (SOSC) - at least one prototype

  • Orbital, Dulles
    • Launch Abort System Inert Vehicle

  • ATK
    • Launch Abort System Abort Motor

  • United Space Alliance
    • 1/10 scale crew module for buoyancy testing with Texas A&M-Galveston
    • KSC: crew module wire frame mockup in the Human Engineering Modeling & Performance Lab

  • Johnson Space Center
    • Bldg 9: Medium Fidelity Crew Module
    • PORT – Post-landing Orion Recovery Test (full scale) – currently at KSC, was built at Navy Carderock facility
    • WEST – Water Egress Survival Trainer (1/4 scale) – Houston

  • Dryden Flight Research Center
    • Pad Abort 1 Flight Test Crew Module

  • White Sands Missile Range
    • Launch Abort System Pathfinder
    • Pad Abort 1 Crew Module Pathfinder Mockup

Project Constellation nomenclature

  • Orion – Crew/Service Module (CSM) manned/unmanned multi-role spacecraft.
  • Altair – Lunar Surface Access Module (LSAM), the manned/unmanned lunar logistics vehicle.
  • Ares I
    Ares I
    Ares I was the crew launch vehicle that was being developed by NASA as part of the Constellation Program. The name "Ares" refers to the Greek deity Ares, who is identified with the Roman god Mars...

    – ("The Stick") Medium-lift crew/cargo launch vehicle.
  • Ares IV – Medium-heavy lift launch vehicle announced in February, 2007.
  • Ares V
    Ares V
    The Ares V was the planned cargo launch component of the Constellation program, which was to have replaced the Space Shuttle after its retirement in 2011. Ares V was also planned to carry supplies for a human presence on Mars...

    – Heavy-lift cargo launch vehicle.

See also



  • Atmospheric entry
  • Cleon Lacefield
    Cleon Lacefield
    T. Cleon Lacefield is Lockheed Martin vice president and Orion Program manager.With his Lockheed Martin team in Denver and Houston, he won the CEV / Orion development contract from NASA in September 2006.-Career:...

    , Orion program manager for Lockheed Martin
    Lockheed Martin
    Lockheed Martin is an American global aerospace, defense, security, and advanced technology company with worldwide interests. It was formed by the merger of Lockheed Corporation with Martin Marietta in March 1995. It is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, in the Washington Metropolitan Area....

  • Colonization of Mars
    Colonization of Mars
    The colonization of Mars by humans is the focus of speculation and serious study because the surface conditions and availability of water on Mars make it arguably the most hospitable planet in the solar system other than Earth...

  • Colonization of the Moon
    Colonization of the Moon
    The colonization of the Moon is the proposed establishment of permanent human communities on the Moon. Advocates of space exploration have seen settlement of the Moon as a logical step in the expansion of humanity beyond the Earth. Recent indication that water might be present in noteworthy...

  • Orion Lite
    Orion Lite
    The CST-100 crew capsule is a spacecraft design proposed by Boeing in collaboration with Bigelow Aerospace as their entry for NASA's Commercial Crew Development program...

    , proposed commercial variant of Orion from Bigelow Aerospace
    Bigelow Aerospace
    Bigelow Aerospace is a North Las Vegas, Nevada space technology startup company that is pioneering work on expandable space station modules. Bigelow Aerospace was founded by Robert Bigelow in 1998...

    , intended for low earth orbit
  • Prospective Piloted Transport System
    Prospective Piloted Transport System
    PPTS , unofficially called Rus, is a project being undertaken by the Russian Federal Space Agency to develop a new-generation manned spacecraft...

    , Russia's proposed counterpart
  • Space Exploration Vehicle


External links