Although their *other* heavy lifter the Atlas V *is* being crew rated
For the other entrants in the commercial crew stakes, Boeing's CTS100 and the SNC Dream Chaser.
NASA has announced that it will test-fly its pork-tastic Orion spaceship, conceived under the Bush administration for the purpose of carrying astronauts to the Moon once more and now rebranded as a "deep space" vessel for trips to asteroids and perhaps one day Mars. Concept pic showing Orion Crew Exporation Vehicle docked with …
It's one thing to take cautionary steps, it's another to give up on walking, let alone running. They're going to spend a huge amount of $$ to send an unmanned spacecraft up for 2 orbits? How are speeds in LEO going to help in validating a reentry with speeds of up to 20,000mph?
Just send the damn thing around the Moon, demonstrate that the technology does work for x days in space, that tracking/relay/datalink stations work; put some science instruments in place of seats to measure radiation/vibration/G loads/etc, and attach some cameras to the windows to take some photos, then bring it on home and then REALLY test it @ 20,000mph. If it fails, well we got some good photos and some good data on the whole mission. If it works, well then, we can party big time and pretend we're almost as good as the guys who did this stuff routinely in the 60's and 70's...win/win either way.
... In a baked-bean tin
'Cos a baked-bean tin's
Got human-beans in"
TBH that always looked a cramped option for a 500+ day mission.
Oh, note to mission planners: I'd avoid baked beans en-route for the crew given the lack of opportunity to crank the window down.
"TBH that always looked a cramped option for a 500+ day mission."
The crew module itself is a bit tight for sure, though I suspect that for a mission to an asteroid or Mars, the "stack" would also include extra space in the form of an attached hab module or a "mission module" similar to the one Soyuz uses.
And the hits just keep on coming...
NASA is planning to spend 6 billion on the Orion capsule. Yes, capsule not module so five-plus astronauts living in there for 30 days or so (it'd be more for visiting a NEO but whatever) is a non-starter.
SpaceX did Dragon for 300 million and it's less than four months from final certification. Orion is TWENTY times more expensive and doesn't offer significantly more.
Oh, and for the speed thing, I imagine the Delta IV will put the capsule into a highly elliptical orbit so that the speed of re-entry is high enough.