Print 18 comment(s) - last by cyclosarin.. on Sep 24 at 9:16 PM

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 cyclosarin on 9/23/2010 1:01:32 PM , Rating: 4
The STS is anchored to LEO. It literally can not escape LEO. Constellation is readily capable of going back to the moon and establishing the baseline for manned spaceflight further into the solar system. Yet you somehow think that the STS is the technically superior space exploration platform.

Why? Explain exactly why STS is a more capable and functional space exploration platform or what amazing super technology you've developed in your back yard that clearly we should use instead.

Next generation propulsion technology--fail

They use the exact same propulsion technology. The only one that works for getting anything into orbit. The only other possible alternative is nuclear thermal propulsion. However you would need to completely neuter the public's capability to have any input at all into the project. Aside from that the Orbiter is basically the least efficient way to put anything into space. It has to carry a significant amount of dead weight into space that does absolutely nothing to help get it there.

More room for experiments--fail

STS can put 25k lb of cargo into LEO. Ares V can put 188k lb of cargo into LEO.

Extra mobility--fail

The Orbiter is altogether inferior for spaceflight. The added mass of everything that allows the Orbiter it's gimicky landing is dead useless weight in space. Given the fact that Constellation would be capable of TLI it most assuredly wins the 'mobility' debate.

Extended mission duration and capability--fail

Constellation was designed to put people on the moon. That would be extended mission capability. The mission to the moon would likely take longer than any Orbiter flight, though regardless if we wanted to just send Ares V up and have people chill in LEO, they would likely be capable of staying up for a year or more at a time. Skylab being launched off of the Saturn V already disproves this point.

Let me point it out very simply to you. The wings, the lifting body design, the associated tiles to allow the lifting body to re-enter the atmosphere, the vertical stabilizer, the opening and closing cargo bay....all of the things that make the Orbiter 'cool' and seemingly 'modern' are all things that have absolutely NOTHING to do with spaceflight. Most deal with atmospheric flight. They are all a massive regression of the spaceflight program. Capsules represent the logically optimal method for spaceflight. The least amount of mass to get the job done.

Unfortunately real science isn't flashy enough for people like you.

RE: I'm sorry...
By MrBlastman on 9/23/10, Rating: 0
RE: I'm sorry...
By cyclosarin on 9/24/2010 9:16:13 PM , Rating: 2
Where on earth did I mention STS in my post? Please, tell me, where?

This is such a joke, I feel sorry for our future generations. What a giant leap backwards.

If it's a giant leap backwards, from where are we leaping back? The last SLV we had before the STS was Apollo. So please enlighten me, how are we stepping back from ANYTHING if you aren't referencing anything.

Your entire inept counter-argument seems to be you attempting to suggest that your original argument was about the Orion in a vacuum...and I can see now you were entirely unprepared for any conversation about the subject.

I'm not talking about cargo, now am I? I'm talking about room inside the vehicle! This is a small capsule. This isn't a ship, it is a capsule with no engines other than some nozzles for maneuvering on it. This is also about the closest I can to referring to the shuttle but I didn't. I want a spacecraft that is large, self-sustaining and has room inside of it far greater than a "capsule." It might have an engine behind the blast shield, but the schematics I see don't suggest one.

How is it that you manage to have the gall to even write your original post when you don't even understand the basic principles of the spacecraft or program?

The CEV is comprised of a crew module and a service module. The crew module is only ever separated for re-entry or abort.

The cargo capacity of each launch system directly relates to what and how many experiments you can take to LEO and beyond. On top of the vast difference in raw weight the Ares V has the largest shroud diameter of any rocket ever. This would allow for new payloads that could never have been launched before. Ares V can put a module into LEO that would make the Orbiter look like a sardine can.

Regarding your child-like thought process regarding chemical engines; I wonder if you think we should simply not do anything until we develop the mythical nonexistent engines you want us to use for the sake of them being anything but chemical. Nuclear thermal engines aren't going to happen any time soon due to ignorance just like yours of spaceflight. Ion thrusters are just short of useless for orbital flight and likely so for trans-lunar flight as well. They may very well be useful when developed to a larger scale and used for long distance flights such as Mars. But that's 20+ years out and we need to learn to survive on away from Earth before we go running out on a year long trip to Mars.

You want NASA to dream up some magical Starship Enterprise to fulfill your childhood fantasy. It isn't magic, it's physics. DIRECT was the only other meaningful suggestion from mostly ex-NASA people...and it still used the Orion spacecraft it simply replaced the Ares family of rockets with the Jupiter family.

Please do us all a favor and keep your uninformed opinions to yourself.

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