December Test Flight Huge for NASA’s Next Manned Spacecraft

December Test Flight Huge for NASA’s Next Manned Spacecraft

AdminCadet: What do you think of the Orion Program and its upcoming test?  Please feel free to comment.

Orion artists representation June 19 2014

Space.com: “The first flight test of NASA’s new manned spacecraft may be six months away, but agency engineers are already looking forward to what they will learn from the trial…”

Credit: Space.com – Mike Wall, Senior Writer – June 19 2014; Art Credit: NASA

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One thought on “December Test Flight Huge for NASA’s Next Manned Spacecraft

  1. NASA is making a huge deal about this EFT-1 mission.
    There are lots of people at the Cape fully preoccupied in the run-up to launch.
    There are people at JSC in Mission Operations who are treating this as the biggest darn thing since STS-135.
    You just want to go… “People… please… calm down. This is a FOUR HOUR mission!”
    Kinda like Gilligan’s Island.
    A four hour tour…

    The article says, “NASA’s Orion capsule, which is designed to take astronauts to Mars and other farflung destinations…”
    Oh my.
    Well, let’s start with Orion.
    EFT-1 is NOT Orion. It’s a test article.
    A necessary first step, yes. You have to test things. Absolutely.
    But EFT-1 is largely a mass simulator. No crew. Minimal avionics. No life support system. No solar arrays. Minimal comm. It’s intended to go up, and come back…. two orbit… test the heat shield. Ta-da.

    A NASA flight director on this little jaunt above LEO called it the first flight of a new program.

    WHAT new program??
    Has MOD lost it’s mind!? (again)
    New program?? Where is that program headed? What are the missions? What are the goals??

    The next thing… “far flung destinations”…
    Orion (whenever it finally flies) can barely get to the Moon … barely. It’s designed for 4 crew to stay alive for 21 days. That’s it. No trips to Mars. No trips to asteroids. Can’t do it.
    Also, the heat shield can not handle a return from Mars. The current design is (as we speak) being fine-tuned to handle “up to” 11,050 m/sec. That’s a lunar entry speed. Mars will be faster… and hotter. So to get this ship home from Mars will take significant re-engineering – many years down the road.

    Don’t get me wrong… NASA needs SOMETHING to work on.
    Orion is it. (ISS is largely a dead-end…even if it is the sustaining food pellet for the agency for the next decade.)
    So we need to test the thing before putting crew in it.
    But let’s not over-inflate EFT-1 beyond what it is. It’s a little test hop. What I REALLY want to see is SLS and Orion fly… someday. If we’re going to go anywhere… that’s the vehicle combination we need.
    That said… is SLS the “best” launch vehicle solution? Oh… we’ll avoid that debate for now.

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