Ares 1 Parachute Recovery System Tests Completed

NASA recently completed a series of tests that will aid in the design and development of a parachute recovery system for the rocket and capsule that will return astronauts to the moon and later support missions to Mars. The system will be used for the first stage booster of the Ares I crew launch vehicle and for Orion, the new crew exploration vehicle.

NASA and industry engineers traveled to the U.S. Army’s Yuma Proving Ground, Ariz. to conduct drop tests of the two parachute systems during the week of Aug. 14.

The Ares I tests collected performance data on a pilot parachute, the first to be unfurled in a three-stage recovery system NASA is developing for the rocket’s first stage.… Read the rest

Ares I Crew Launch Vehicle Overview

Marshall Space Flight Center’s Danny Davis, manager of the Upper Stage of the new Ares I Crew Launch Vehicle, has given a fascinating inside overview of the vehicle that will transport Lockheed Martin’s Orion.

Question: Could you please give us an outline of your role?

Davis: I manage the Ares I Upper Stage Element Office. The Upper Stage is an integral part of the Ares I launch vehicle that provides the second stage of flight for delivery of the Orion vehicle to low earth orbit.

My office is responsible for development of the stage requirements, stage design, verification of the design, fabrication and assembly, and support to operations at KSC.… Read the rest

Lockheed Contract to Kickstart Real Estate Market

From the Galveston County Daily News – A day after Lockheed Martin won the bid to build NASA’s next-generation spacecraft, Orion, intriguing real estate speculation began orbiting.

The work to build the shuttle’s successor is expected to create about 1,100 jobs. Numbers fluctuate, but Lockheed Martin Space Operations has more than 1,000 employees in the region and offices at 2625 Bay Area Blvd. Word has it that a new office to house all the new workers is being planned on the site of the recently demolished Clarion Hotel, 1301 NASA Road 1.

Ultimately, NASA is expected to spend $8 billion to build Orion.… Read the rest

Hamilton Sundstrand to Join Lockheed Martin Team on Project Orion

Windsor Locks, Conn.-based Hamilton Sundstrand, a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. in Hartford, has been named to a Lockheed Martin-led team selected to develop NASA’s new Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle.

The work is worth several hundred million dollars to Hamilton Sundstrand, according to company officials.

Other companies involved in the Orion project, which aims to build America’s next generation of spacecraft for exploration, include Aerojet General Corp., Honeywell International Inc., Orbital Sciences Corp. and the United Space Alliance, a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Boeing Co. which is the prime contractor for the space shuttle program.

Hamilton Sundstrand will provide 13 key systems to the exploration vehicle, including the fire detection and suppression system, carbon monoxide removal/humidity control system, pressure control system, atmospheric monitoring system, cabin air ventilation and potable/cooling water storage.… Read the rest

Ken Clavert Offers Congratulations to Lockheed Martin

Congressman Ken Calvert offered congratulations to the employees of Lockheed Martin today for developing the winning proposal for NASA’s new spacecraft, the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle to be launched on the Ares launch vehicle. The Orion will replace the Space Shuttle which is to be retired in 2010.

“My hat is off to Lockheed Martin for developing the winning design. Both the Northrop Grumman/Boeing and Lockheed Martin teams did a fantastic job and I am confident technology from each will play a role in the final Constellation Launch System. The Orion selection shows that NASA is serious about implementing the Vision for Space Exploration and sending humans to the Moon, Mars and beyond,” said Calvert, who serves as the Chairman of the Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee in the House of Representatives.… Read the rest

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