back to article NASA deep-space ship gets 2014 unmanned test flight

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 …


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  1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    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.

  2. Robert E A Harvey

    Picture: oh look, its 1969 again.

  3. F111F
    Facepalm the Moon, Alice!

    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' either way.

    1. Anonymous John

      Not possible with either the Atlas 5 or Delta 4 Heavy. If it was possible for them to get Orion out of Earth orbit, there would be no need for the SLS.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Love it.

    Gee Dubya poisoned the well for Obama by announcing the new Moon Programme and now NASA are making sure the GOP are going to have to drink from it :)

  5. mrweekender


    These guys really need to get their shit together. If they don't China will be leading the way to the colonisation of the solar system (a tad scary given their views on human rights) and America's part in all of this will be literally, history.

  6. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    It's not a proper Orion

    if it's not lobbing nukes out of the back end.

    Now that I *would* pay to see...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Now that I *would* pay to see..."

      ...from a distance and with special goggles?

  7. MrT

    "Oh, you'll never get to heaven....

    ... 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.

    1. Mike Flugennock

      a baked-bean tin

      "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.

  8. E 2

    Wrong conception

    "...conceived under the Bush administration for the purpose of carrying astronauts to the Moon once more ..."

    No - it was conceived as a way to distract the USA public from the snowballing disaster that the Iraq war was becoming.

  9. Kharkov

    Six billion for this?

    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.

  10. John Griffiths

    Why does a deep space vessel do re-entry?

    Seems like a massive waste of weight surely?

    1. Francis Boyle Silver badge


      otherwise you have to do orbital insertion which is an even more "massive waste of weight".

  11. Yag

    "astronaut" is the new way to name "budget"?

    "... the Orion spacecraft would eventually launch astronauts to the moon as well as to asteroids"

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm bored with rockets . .

    I want a space elevator! Never mind Orion - get Otis.

    After the hope and euphoria of the sixties I'm now getting too old for the high G. Get with the cables!

  13. Mike H.
    Thumb Down

    "...US President Obama has said there will be no manned return to the moon"

    Rubbish, the civilisation will hopefully last slight longer than the rule of MR Obama.

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