NASA Might Be Lucky To See Orion Fly In 2015 | Aero-News Network
Aero-News Network
RSS icon RSS feed
podcast icon MP3 podcast
Subscribe Aero-News e-mail Newsletter Subscribe

Airborne Unlimited -- Recent Daily Episodes

Episode Date

Airborne Unlimited-
Monday

Airborne Unmanned-
Alt. Wednesdays

Airborne Flight Training-Alt. Wednesdays

Airborne Unlimited-
Friday

Airborne Special Programs!

Airborne On ANN

Airborne Unlimited--07.06.20

Airborne-Unmanned--06.24.20

NEW! Airborne-Flight Training--07.01.20

Airborne Unlimited--07.03.20

Airborne's Annual April 1st Episode

Airborne-YouTube

Airborne Unlimited--07.06.20

Airborne-Unmanned--06.24.20

NEW! Airborne-Flight Training--07.01.20

Airborne Unlimited--07.03.20

The 2020 Avionics Innovation Preview!

Fri, Jul 18, 2008

NASA Might Be Lucky To See Orion Fly In 2015

Tech Concerns Strain Earlier Target; Politics Threaten Later Date

Plan on 2015. That's the word from NASA this week, as the agency admits it "very likely" will not be able to meet its ambitious goal of started manned spaceflights with its Orion spacecraft in five years. But even that date is in flux.

NASA already warned not to expect a manned Orion flight before March 2015... but the agency was also working to meet an internal schedule that would have moved up the first flight by approximately 18 months. It's now extremely unlikely that optimistic schedule will be met... but the agency only said so publicly after the agenda to this week's meeting of program managers in Houston was leaked on a NASA watchdog Web site.

The Associated Press confirmed the news with Doug Cooke, NASA's deputy associate administrator for exploration. "We're probably going to have to move our target date" from late-2013, Cooke said.

Reasons for the expected delay in the agency's internal timeframe for Orion are a mix of technological and financial issues.

According to the 117-page report posted Wednesday on NASAWatch.com, Orion has incurred an $80 million cost overrun this year tied to problems with an attitude control motor under development by Lockheed Martin and Orbital. That's one of 24 technical issues currently cited by Orion program managers; other worrisome areas include the spacecraft's heat shield, and continued vibration issues with the Ares I launch vehicle.

One difficulty brings up uncomfortable echoes to the darkest days of the Apollo program: a hard-to-open access hatch, which was one of the contributing factors to the loss of three astronauts in the January 1967 Apollo 1 launchpad fire. Orion engineers are also concerned with NASA's plans to supply astronauts with just two liters of water each per day... at least a half-liter less than what medical experts say they need.

Cooke says such issues aren't uncommon at this stage of development, however, and he remains confident those technical problems will be corrected. "What you're seeing is sausage-making," he said. "I'm really satisfied with the work that's getting done."

There's a more ominous threat to Orion, however: budgetary constraints. In the report, Orion engineers were told to plan for continuing the program under a FY 2009 continuing resolution, which would hold NASA's budget at 2008 levels... with none of the additional funding contained in the $20.2 billion NASA budget approved by the House of Representatives in June.

NASA is concerned that budget won't make it out of the Senate... and if it does, that the Bush admistration will veto it. Such a defeat would push Orion back even further, making even the March 2015 target a nebulous one.

"We have a government that is dysfunctional," said Syracuse University technology and public policy professor W. Henry Lambright. "I'm not blaming NASA. I think NASA is a victim of a political situation we have in this country."

FMI: www.nasa.gov

Advertisement

More News

ANN's Daily Aero-Linx (07.08.20)

Aero Linx: Tuskegee Airmen Scholarship Foundation (TASF) The mission of the Tuskegee Airmen Scholarship Foundation (TASF) is to honor the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen by providing>[...]

ANN's Daily Aero-Term (07.06.20): Approach Light System (ALS)

Approach Light System (ALS) An airport lighting facility which provides visual guidance to landing aircraft by radiating light beams in a directional pattern by which the pilot ali>[...]

ANN's Daily Aero-Linx (07.06.20)

Aero Linx: Air Canada Pilots Association (ACPA) With more than 4,300 members who fly passengers and cargo around the world on Air Canada and Air Canada rouge, Air Canada Pilots Ass>[...]

Airborne-Flight Training 07.01.20: WAI Scholarships, eFlyer 2 Report, FSANA 2021

Also: ERAU Maintenance Students, EAA Chapter Scholarship, FlightSafety Maintenance Training, Horizon Int'l Flt Academy With new scholarships being posted weekly, the 2021 WAI schol>[...]

Airborne 07.06.20: Stratos 716X, Phillies Pitcher Lost, King Schools Giveaway

Also: Great Aircraft Raffle, Cancel Culture Strikes Boeing, ABQ Balloon Fiesta Postponed, USCG Rescue Stratos Aircraft has conducted the first flight of its Stratos 716X model - re>[...]

blog comments powered by Disqus



Advertisement

Advertisement

Podcasts

Advertisement

© 2007 - 2020 Web Development & Design by Pauli Systems, LC