NASA is considering launching a living, human crew on the first integrated flight of the new Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion spacecraft currently scheduled for late 2018. While most of NASA’s crewed spacecraft have had their initial launches unmanned or with (adorable) non-human animals, this is not unheard of, as…
Building a safe spacecraft is in some ways like building a safe car: If you don’t want your astronauts to die, you need to test the vehicle thoroughly. And just like cars, that means using crash test dummies.
The Orion Exploration Mission 1 (EM-1) spacecraft is about to get its heat shield, which is manufactured in large part by Lockheed Martin. Building the heat shield involved a so-called out of autoclave (OOA) cure process, a high temperature, high pressure method for manufacturing composite materials, such as carbon…
NASA engineers are continuing to work out the details for Orion, the spacecraft that will take actual humans to the next frontiers of space. Among many changes for the next mission in a few year’s time is a new and very shiny paint.
NASA’s Super Guppy aircraft is one of the most extravagant cargo planes in the world. The awkwardly shaped aircraft has been in service since 1965, and was specifically designed to carry oversized payloads, like rocket stages and spacecrafts. This Tuesday she was fed with the Orion service module stacking assembly…
When we see new images showing how NASA is moving ahead with their Orion Program there is often a Project Apollo feeling, because of the similarities between the two US space mission. This new photo gives us such dejà vu too.
What’s that big metal donut on the ceiling? Actually, it’s part of NASA’s forthcoming Orion Service Module, about to be tested to ensure it can withstand the vibrations it will be exposed to during launch and travel.
With enough ingenuity, nearly anything is possible. Engineers on NASA’s Orion crew module have found ways to cut down the number of main weld-points from 33 to just 7 in the latest prototype, dramatically reducing mass by the equivalent of several astronauts.
NASA’s next-gen spacecraft, Orion, was originally scheduled to launch with astronauts aboard in 2021, but owing to the space agency’s history of running into unexpected problems, it has decided to delay this important test flight by two years.
NASA hasn’t sent humans into space on its own spacecraft since the Space Shuttle orbiters retired, so they really want to be sure things are working properly before astronauts climb aboard the next-generation Orion capsule. Earlier today, NASA simulated a “Minimum System Test” in which some of Orion’s parachutes were…
Following a tweet showing a shadow that looked a bit like him on Mars, Big Bird has denied that he’s ever been to Mars. But no one was suggesting that he had. Methinks the bird doth protest too much.
Given how high-tech spacecraft tend to be, I was surprised to learn that existing space vehicles tend to use good old-fashioned glass (albeit a rather expensive kind). But for the next-gen Orion spacecraft, NASA has been working overtime to find something stronger, lighter, and just a little less fragile.
These NASA employees may be lying down, but the experience isn't perhaps as relaxing as it looks. This is how the space agency goes about testing spacesuits ahead of launch.
NASA successfully live-fired the new booster for its Space Launcher System today. It's the largest, most powerful booster ever built, putting one hell of a scorch mark into the desert. And yes, there's a video.
Lockheed Martin has published a surprising list of all the stuff that flew to space in the first Orion test. You are looking at one of the items: A Tyrannosaurus Rex's tooth fossil sent by the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Here's another one: A Cookie Monster's cookie and Ernie's original rubber duckie.
During the State of the Union address, President Obama said stirring things about human spaceflight and the future. But these are the same dreams we've been talking about for years, and without more funding for NASA these dreams will fizzle instead of coming true.
It's amazing how effective the thermal shield of NASA's Orion spacecraft is. With all of the back shell panels removed for a viewing by Kennedy Space Center workers, you can hardly see any heat-related damage under the skin of the spacecraft.
This December, Orion left for a 60,000 mile journey through space, to land at sea to be carried 600 miles back to shore, and finally went on a 2,500-mile road trip home. Here's the whole journey from construction through the flight and back home, in pictures.