A great interview by Ken Kremer with John Karas, Lockheed Martin VP and General Manager of Human Space Flight.
“We can fly Orion in 2013”, says John Karas, the VP and General Manager of Human Space Flight for Lockheed Martin.
In the interview, Karas questioned the complete lack of vision and realism by the Obama Administration and NASA in deciding to terminate Project Constellation, which includes the new Orion Capsule, the Ares 1 booster rocket for Orion and the Ares 5 Heavy Lift booster required to reach the Moon, Mars and beyond.
Karas was confident about the early readiness of Orion and vehemently disagrees with the conclusions of the blue ribbon Augustine commission which evaluated Project Constellation and stated in their final report that the Orion capsule could not launch prior to 2015 to 2017. Karas stated, “We can have an Orion capsule built and ready to fly by 2013. It would likely utilize a 5 segment Ares 1 rocket and probably be capable of launching with 4 astronauts aboard. To accomplish that, we first need to complete several high altitude abort tests with the capsule. This would be followed by an unmanned orbital test in 2012.”
We will not maintain Space leadership if the US will only be spending money on commercial LEO technology development under the new proposals by the Obama Administration, and not on an actual rocket program that builds, tests and launches flight hardware. Other countries have vehicles and technology programs too.
AmericaSpace Note: Hmmm…another person down in the trenches doesn’t agree with the conclusions of the Augustine Committee. Put that together with Jeff Hanley’s opinion of the Committee, in contrast to NASA Administrator Bolden’s confidence in the Augustine Committee findings, and you begin to see disconnect. Our recommendation is that Bolden should call his own people.