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Renovations aim to streamline space operations for the Orion Project.

Plans have been set in motion to get the nation's next space exploration vehicle prepared for flight. Lockheed Martin announced this week that they have a crew on-site at NASA's Kennedy Space Center to began lean assembly path-finding operations for the Orion spacecraft.   

A full-scale Orion mock-up is being used to conduct simulated manufacturing and assembly operations to verify the tools, processes and spacecraft integration procedures.  

The finished product is expected to be fully assembled by Lockheed Martin on the grounds of the Kennedy Space Center according to a press release from the company.

"The unique benefit of this complete on-site operation is that we will build the spacecraft and then move it directly onto the launch vehicle at KSC, which saves the government transportation costs associated with tests and checkout prior to launch,” said Lockheed Martin Orion Deputy Program Manager for production operations Richard Harris. “This capability also facilitates the KSC workforce transition efforts by providing new job opportunities for those employees completing their shuttle program assignments."

To help support NASA's next generation spacecraft fleet, Lockheed Martin and NASA worked together in a two-year effort on renovations for the Operations & Checkout Facility at the Kennedy Space Center.  

The collaboration produced a new and improved "O&C".  Paperless workstations, a portable clean room system, portable tooling stations, and air-bearing floor space were some of the upgrades that resulted in the state-of-the-art complex being dubbed the “the spacecraft factory of the future”.  

Lockheed Martin
 is currently the prime contractor to NASA for the Orion Project.

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RE: I'm sorry...
By Jeffk464 on 9/23/2010 10:53:22 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure its a step backward. The goal of the new Orion project is to get astronauts into space cheaply and safely. The capsule idea seems like the best way to do it at the moment. Remember the Space Shuttle program was designed to drop the cost of putting cargo and astronauts into orbit, to make it "routine" -- Massive FAIL
It was also a massive fail on safety. From what I have heard scientists are pretty upset with the Space Shuttle program taking up such a huge portion of NASA's budget. Most of the real science is being done by unmanned stuff.

It seams to me the cheapest way of handling cargo and people is to keep them separate. Standard unmanned rockets to put cargo into space which is much cheaper because the rockets don't have to be built to the same safety level as manned rockets.

Of course once the space station is retired, which there is talk about it happening before scheduled, what is the point of putting so many astronauts up in such a small capsule?

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