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Orion capsule  (Source: space.com)
The good news is that the hardware can be fixed without having to be remanufactured

According to NASA, the deep-space Orion crew capsule underwent pressure testing at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida the week of November 5. After the testing, which subjected the capsule to more stress than it is expected to experience during its scheduled use, NASA found a few cracks. 

The cracks were located in three adjacent radial ribs of the aluminum bulkhead. It occurred at a pressure of 149 kilopascals. To pass the test, the Orion would have had to reach 164 kilopascals without cracking. 

The good news is that the hardware can be fixed without having to be remanufactured. However, NASA wants to figure out exactly why this happened, so it will use an electron microscope to scan the damage. 

Lockheed Martin Space Systems is the maker of the Orion, and will perform the testing necessary to investigate what happened. It took about one year to build the space capsule. 

The Orion was set to launch in 2014 in a flight called Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1), where an unmanned Orion will launch into orbit and reenter the atmosphere at 32,000 kilometers per hour. It's unclear whether this flight will now be delayed due to the damage. 

The Orion capsule will eventually take astronauts into deep space to locations like asteroids and Mars. It will be the most advanced spacecraft ever, with the ability to provide safe re-entry from deep space, a way to sustain astronauts in space, and an emergency abort option. The Orion spacecraft was first unveiled by Lockheed Martin in early 2011.

Just this past July, NASA brought the Orion capsule to the Kennedy Space Center to begin testing. 

If all goes well with EFT-1, the Orion capsule will take astronauts beyond low-Earth orbit via the new Space Launch System (SLS)which is NASA's latest heavy lift vehicle that will also be used as the backup for international and commercial partner transportation to the International Space Station (ISS).

The Orion capsule is set to launch atop the SLS in 2017. The Orion is set to be the main mode of deep space transportation for about 30 years.

Source: MSNBC



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RE: Incorrect Conversion
By Jeffk464 on 11/28/2012 10:11:37 AM , Rating: 2
That is one tiny spaceship to go all the way to mars. Can't imagine being crammed into it for that long.


RE: Incorrect Conversion
By Motoman on 11/28/2012 10:16:53 AM , Rating: 5
Why not? Look at all the kids who spend years upon years just sitting in their momma's basement playing COD or something. All you need is enough space for a chair and a TV.


RE: Incorrect Conversion
By FITCamaro on 11/28/2012 1:02:28 PM , Rating: 2
They still get up to go eat and go to the bathroom.


RE: Incorrect Conversion
By Argon18 on 11/28/2012 4:51:04 PM , Rating: 4
Have you seen some of them? I don't think they do.


RE: Incorrect Conversion
By MrBungle123 on 11/30/2012 12:53:27 PM , Rating: 3
"Mom!.... Bathroom, bathroom!"


RE: Incorrect Conversion
By Samus on 11/29/2012 3:08:33 AM , Rating: 2
RE: Incorrect Conversion
By maugrimtr on 11/30/2012 10:52:32 AM , Rating: 3
Hillariously, NASA swears the Orion will go to asteroids and Mars. If they can pull that off, they'll have my greatest respect for training astronauts to withstand sitting in a capsule (which is essentially an Earth reentry device) for the whole trip.

There will obviously be more - there just is zero funding to do the other essentials. It's sad - Orion and SLS are money pits that ignore the rest of a mission's requirements: living quarters, science labs, storage, Mars reentry and Asteroid lander vehicles, radiation shielding (Astronauts presumably don't want cancer), etc.

With 12 years to go to 2025...I'll believe it when I see it. I think they are doing a fraction of the required work. Getting to Mars will always 2-3 terms beyond the retirement date of whoever is President.


RE: Incorrect Conversion
By delphinus100 on 12/1/2012 1:19:19 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Hillariously, NASA swears the Orion will go to asteroids and Mars


Then there'd better be some secret propulsion breakthrough (gas-core NTR at least), that can get the one-way flight time down to three or four weeks...


RE: Incorrect Conversion
By Jeffk464 on 11/28/2012 2:53:29 PM , Rating: 2
I still think the solution to the problem of weight and space for space travel is to pick little people for astronauts. I mean it works for horse racing.


RE: Incorrect Conversion
By mmatis on 11/28/2012 4:53:00 PM , Rating: 2
That does not accommodate this country's Affirmative Action requirements, and thus is a non-starter.


RE: Incorrect Conversion
By Devilboy1313 on 11/30/2012 10:18:55 PM , Rating: 2
They just need disabled African American lesbian little people.


RE: Incorrect Conversion
By DockScience on 12/1/2012 4:32:17 PM , Rating: 2
Sounds like a feature on NPR.


RE: Incorrect Conversion
By mellomonk on 11/28/2012 1:49:23 PM , Rating: 2
The Orion would just be one component of a long-range spacecraft. Specifically the re-entry return part and possibly command module. There would be habitation and storage modules as well.


RE: Incorrect Conversion
By TheScienceMinute on 11/28/2012 8:48:27 PM , Rating: 2
You know, if we just all went back and watched 2001 A Space Odyssey again we might learn something from good ol' AC Clark. Build an actual usable space station/dock in equatorial orbit, build circular modular ships there (looking like, say, the Pentagon), spin them for gravity and then go to Mars in one. The ship would remain in Mars orbit and refuel from previously orbited storage tanks. Coming back dock with the space station and then reuse the ship. Balutes (see 2010 The Year We Make Contact) could be used to slow down from interplanetary to orbital velocity. There. Done. Let's go!


RE: Incorrect Conversion
By gamerk2 on 11/29/2012 9:44:51 AM , Rating: 2
NASA did studies, and found that to generate a significant amount of gravity, you'd either need a HUGE ship, or spin it at a rate that would kill the astronauts.

So that approach is not viable.


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