Orion Program To Move Faster

Orion Orbits Moon
Aviation Week & Space Technology’s Frank Morring reported yesterday in Orion Program Shrinking To Save Money, Time that,

Lockheed Martin has cut out an entire test article from the Orion crew exploration vehicle that it is recasting in a new role as deep-space Multi Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV), combining test objectives for the remaining articles in an effort to keep the vehicle within the tight schedule set by Congress.

“By combining the tests that will be conducted with particular test articles, the company plans to send an Orion capsule into orbit on its first test flight in 2013”

Clearly, someone is channeling their inner George Mueller. We hope the same occurs with those running the Space Launch System.


  1. The biggest problem with the space launch system is that NASA has done nothing to signify it’s plans, or who will be building it (with the exception of the Orion capsule). There are contractor employees waiting and literally begging for direction. One can only hope that the CCDev-2 rejection of Liberty had something to do with the fact that NASA is still planning on utilizing ATK’s boosters for SLS. Meanwhile, they (like several others) are waiting to see if they will get to participate in heavy launch. Unfortunately, many of them have lost faith in NASA’s ability to provide direction, and are seeking employment elsewhere (both voluntarily and involuntarily). More likely, NASA will delay SLS and then blame the contractors for being behind schedule and over budget (in spite of 2000+ layoffs).

    • Appropriators, Authorizers and their staff fully expect leadership at NASA, OSTP and OMB to fight SLS and the MPCV by slow-rolling those programs. Most susceptible will be SLS because it doesn’t even have a prime. But playing with appropriations is a dangerous game, as then Sec. Def. Dick Cheney nearly found out. We’ll have to wait and see.

      As told to me by several people, the WH has been content with the people it has running space as long as they are not a political problem. A hearing on misappropriations of SLS funds would likely constitute the beginning of a “political problem”. Another political problem is Florida and its importance for the 2012 election. Ditching certain baggage would possibly, though not certainly, help the President’s chances of winning Florida again in 2012, a state that he cannot loose if he wants to stay in the White House. Just my thoughts…

Barbree’s Take On CCDev Awards

Congress Shoots For The Moon