IT MAY HAPPEN SOONER RATHER THAN LATER. ORION, DESIGNED TO GO TO THE MOON OR TO AN ASTEROID. AT PRESIDENT TRUMP’S URGING THE FIRST FLIGHT INSTANT OF BEING AN UNMANNED TEST FLIGHT COULD BE IN 2019. WE HAVE NOT SINCE HUMANS OUTSIDE OF LOW OEARTH ORBIT SINCE 1972. REPORTER: HE GAVE AN UPDATE ON ORION TO A LARGE ENTHUSIASTIC GATHERING OF THE NATIONAL SPACECLUB ORDER TRACTOR.– CHAPTER.AMONG THE DIFFERENCES IS THAT ORION IS MUCH BIGGER AND FLEXIBLE, BUILT WITH CHANGE IN MIND. PRESS: WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ON THE MISSION?>> OF NASA WILL FINISH A STUDY THAT COULD FINISH UP THE TIMETABLE.>> EXCITING AND FUN.
On Feb. 22, engineers successfully installed ESA’s European Service Module Propulsion Qualification Module (PQM) at NASA’s White Sands Test Facility in New Mexico that was delivered by Airbus – ESA’s prime contractor for the Service Module. The module will be equipped with a total of 21 engines to support NASA’s Orion spacecraft: one U.S. Space Shuttle Orbital Maneuvering System (OMS) engine, eight auxiliary thrusters and 12 smaller thrusters produced by Airbus Safran Launchers in Germany. The all-steel PQM structure is used to test the propulsion systems on Orion, including “hot firing” of the OMS engine and thrusters.
Orion will travel more than 40,000 miles beyond the moon to test the spacecraft that will carry humans farther into the solar system than ever before. NASA will use the proving ground of space near the moon to establish the deep-space mission operations needed to for long-duration missions. These missions will incrementally decrease our reliance on the Earth for in-space operations and enable future missions on the journey to Mars.
What Will Orion Do?
Orion will carry astronauts into deep space and then return them home to Earth. Orion will be able to travel to an asteroid or even Mars.
NASA is developing a huge rocket called the Space Launch System, or SLS. This rocket is a heavy-lift launch vehicle. Orion will launch on top of this rocket. The heavy-lift launch vehicle will carry Orion beyond low Earth orbit, where the International Space Station orbits, and far past the moon.
Orion has three main parts. The upper section is the launch abort system, or LAS; the crew module is the middle part; and the service module is the lower portion of the spacecraft. Astronauts will sit in the middle section, the crew module. This will be their living quarters. If an emergency occurs during launch or the climb to orbit, the LAS would activate in milliseconds. It would propel the crew module away from the rocket to safety. The LAS looks like a tower on top of the crew module. Beneath the crew module is the service module. It holds the power and propulsion systems. Solar array panels on the service module will absorb sunlight to create electricity. This power will allow the spacecraft to remain in orbit for months at a time.