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Orion may live on in simpler design

America has been the leading spacefaring nations on the planet since the early days of space travel. The U.S. put the first man on the moon and continued to lead the world in exploration and space travel. President Obama unveiled a new budget for NASA in February that dealt many of its space flight programs a serious blow including ambitious plans for putting American's back on the moon.

Obama has already cut funding for the Constellation program along with the funding that would allow for the completion of the Orion crew capsule that would take astronauts to the ISS after the space shuttle fleet is retired. Many in Washington and at NASA have been calling for Obama to clarify his plans for NASA.

Obama is going to talk at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida about his plans for NASA and human spaceflight. The 
New York Times quotes an unnamed Obama administration official saying, "[The president will describe a plan] that unlocks our ambitions and expands our frontiers in space, ultimately meaning the challenge of sending humans to Mars."

Obama is reportedly going to propose a simpler version of the Orion capsule to be used as a lifeboat for the ISS. Obama is also expected to announce a commitment to choosing a design for a heavy-lift rocket by 2015. The official added, "This means major work on the heavy-lift rocket at least two years earlier than Constellation."

One of the big concerns is that the budget cuts will mean thousands of people working in the space industry in Florida and other states are facing layoffs. The 
Wall Street Journal reports that 7,000 workers at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida are facing layoff with the new budget. Concessions made to allow for a simpler version of Orion will allow 2,000 of those jobs to be saved.

NASA deputy administrator Lori Garver said, "He's [Obama is] putting a lot of political capital into it. Human spaceflight is a huge priority of this president."



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RE: the letters
By MozeeToby on 4/14/2010 12:31:43 PM , Rating: 2
But the equipment used to land on the moon would be completely different from the equipment used to land on mars.

The capsules and rockets used to get to the moon wouldn't be anywhere near large enough to get to Mars with the supplies and fuel that would be needed. The landers would have to be totally different due to different conditions (gravity, atmosphere, etc). Even rovers designed for the moon would have to be redesigned from scratch for the different surface conditions on Mars.

And besides all that, a mars mission requires only slightly more delta-V than a moon mission. Landing on the moon, then launching to Mars will actually cost you fuel (due the the fact that you have to burn to insert yourself into Lunar orbit). Not saying that a semi-permanent base on the moon wouldn't be an awesome and important thing to do, but it is most certainly not a requirement for a Mars mission.


RE: the letters
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 4/14/2010 1:02:52 PM , Rating: 3
Well never thought it a requirement (Moon base), but a cost saving plan. Of course the cost savings may not come early, it might only happen after x number of missions or if we can make fuel from the sources already on the moon.

I understand that Mars and Moon capsules and rockets would be of different size and power, but would it not be like a sail boat on the Sea? That is there are many different size, carrying ability, top speeds, and other characteristics, however all sail boats have the same basic fundamentals in the design. So, take you spacecraft and scale it to the correct needed size or specs?

Guessing your going to say, "not that simple"


RE: the letters
By ayat101 on 4/15/2010 3:15:21 AM , Rating: 3
You *MISS* the point that the Moon has water and other ingredients to produce fuel for a Mars and *OTHER* missions, such as asteroid mining or space habitats.

The *WHOLE POINT* was a base on the Moon would produce fuel for other missions because the gravity well on the Moon is much smaller than on the Earth and thus it requires less fuel to launch from the Moon. The possibility also exists to produce other materials on the Moon further reducing what has to be hoisted out of Earth's gravity well.

The above is *IN ADDITION* to other benefits a Moon base would bring in research and materials.

The whole idea of changing NASA's mission to a long term Mars mission is precisely the *LONG TERM* part... because it may *NEVER* get done, will not be done by the current administration, can be altered and cancelled in the future, and problems can generally be pushed off and blamed on others.

With a Moon mission setting up a base commits NASA to finishing also the longer term projects. Plus things actualy get done rather than reports and beuracratic plans.


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