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Lockheed Martin wins $4 billion USD contract

Last week it was announced that the name Orion had been selected for NASA's next generation crew exploration vehicle (CEV). Yesterday it was announced that Lockheed Martin would be responsible for building the vehicle that will be pivotal in once again landing Americans back on the moon. The Orion CEV contract is worth an estimated $4 billion USD.

The Orion CEV will not only be responsible for transporting astronauts to the moon, but in earlier missions it will serve as a Space Shuttle successor transporting up to six crew members to and from the International Space Station. Only a crew of four is possible for lunar missions.

“We are humbled and excited as we continue our legacy of five decades of partnership with NASA in every aspect of human and robotic space exploration. Work already is underway and we are fully focused on the vital tasks that lie ahead to meet NASA’s requirements for the program. We have a world-class team of highly dedicated, highly experienced women and men who are passionate about the success of NASA’s missions,” Joanne Maguire, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company.

The Orion CEV is designed to be not only much safer than previous manned space vehicles, but it will also be more efficient, more reliable and more affordable as well. NASA hopes to have the new crew vehicle operational by 2014 with manned missions to the moon taking place before 2020.

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By Master Kenobi on 9/1/2006 12:48:47 PM , Rating: 2
This isn't the commercial industry where safeguards and backup plans are rudimentry at best. The amount of testing, variance in testing, and safeguards and backup plans that need to be devised and designed for number in the hundreds. That is why it costs so much, you need to build SAFELY, not CHEAPLY. Not to mention building a spaceship isn't a simple or quick task, the technology used back in the 60's and 70's is outdated by far. Were basically using the generic design idea, and everything else from scratch.

By Some1ne on 9/1/2006 6:06:03 PM , Rating: 2
you need to build SAFELY, not CHEAPLY.

Sorry, no. Exploration is, and has always been, a dangerous business. People who decide to be explorers know this. You need to make reasonable allowances for safety, but above all else you need to just build what works, and build it QUICKLY (and preferably also cheaply).

Seriously, the safety-nazis have gotten way out of hand as of late...the fact that the shuttle fleet stayed grounded as long as it did after Columbia is just obscene. It's not the job of the engineers to ensure that something like that can never happen again (as they tried...for like 2 years), it's their job to ensure that under resonable conditions, the space vehicle works reasonably well, and it's also their job to tell the explorers "in light of this, we've determined that there's a 0.75% chance that the incident will repeat itself", and then it's the job of the explorers to dedice if that constitutes an acceptable risk or not.

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