NASA to Name Orion Contractor Today

We are gearing up for the announcement by NASA today which will name the Orion Contractor.

The United States begins its next step in human space flight with the announcement by NASA on today (Thursday) of a contractor to design and build spaceships to fly to the moon.

Lockheed Martin Corp and a partnership of Northrop Grumman Corp. and Boeing Co are vying for the work, estimated to be worth more than $18 billion over the next decade.

The Orion missions will include flights to the International Space Station, the moon and then Mars.… Read the rest

Destination Mars by 2025?

NASA is marching forward on its plans to go to the moon, Mars and beyond — an agenda enunciated by President Bush as the vision for space exploration in January 2004. One goal of that plan is returning humans to the moon as early as 2015 and no later than 2020.

NASA Administrator Mike Griffin has his multitasking hands full in shaping and implementing the vision strategy — from the ground up: new launch vehicles for crew and cargo, a six-person Crew Exploration Vehicle, as well as looking at the future of international cooperation in putting verve to the vision.

Griffin spoke to Space.com during the 20th Annual Conference on Small Satellites, held here earlier this month at Utah State University.… Read the rest

Kennedy Space Center to become Moonport by 2008

NASA will start converting Kennedy Space Center into a moonport in the spring of 2008, and a new rocket that will launch U.S. astronauts on lunar missions will be test-flown at a modified shuttle pad a year later.

What’s more, the agency on Thursday plans to announce the winner of a multibillion-dollar contract to build a new Apollo-style space capsule that astronauts will fly to the moon.

The bidders: Lockheed Martin and a Northrup Grumman-Boeing team.

“We’re in the final stages now of making that contractor selection,” NASA program manager Skip Hatfield said. “And we’re looking forward to getting that contractor on board with us as we continue our journey on into exploration.”

Dubbed Orion, the new space capsule will carry crews of six to the International Space Station and four on missions to the moon and Mars.… Read the rest

Contractor to Design, Develop and Build Orion Named on Aug 31

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.… Read the rest