orion multi-purpose crew vehicle
How the United States Will Return to SpaceOn July 21, the Space Shuttle Atlantis landed for the last time, ending three decades of missions in space. With the conclusion of the Shuttle program, the quest to restore the United States' ability to send astronauts beyond the Earth became far more urgent. Though NASA has been working on a new vehicle since 2004, it also began supporting a number of home-grown commercial space operations. As part of the Commercial Crew Development initiative, four companies have started work on spacecraft that will eventually carry astronauts to the International Space Station -- and perhaps beyond.Read on...
NASA’s Orion Spacecraft Will Make Its First Flight in 2014NASA has recently announced that the first flight of its Orion spacecraft will take place in early 2014. The Orion, which is something of a spiritual successor to the Apollo spacecraft which took humans to the Moon, will be the first human capable spacecraft operated by NASA since the retirement of the Space Shuttle fleet earlier this year. While designed to carry humans, the first flight will be unmanned. In a sign of the new direction for NASA, the test flight will not only shakedown Orion's low Earth orbit capability, but its deep space aspirations as well.Read on...
NASA Announces New Space Launch System, Shoots for Mars
NASA has just announced its next development project: The Space Launch System (SLS). SLS will provide NASA with heavy-lift capability the likes of which it has never previously seen. To boot, the development of the new rockets will likely include re-purposed shuttle material, making this project particularly cost effective. The project aims not only to replace the Shuttle program with a sustainable alternative, but also to considerably improve the distance mankind can reach into the abyss.
The SLS rockets will be able to carry the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle and other types of cargo into orbit with relative ease. Powered by liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen fuel, a Space Shuttle RS-25D/E engine for the core stage and a J-2X engine for the upper stage, the SLS rocket should be able to put out a base lift capacity of 70 metric tons, upgradable to 130, beating out the Saturn V which topped out around 118.Read on...