NASA Slashes Orion Crew to 4

Model of NASA's Orion spacecraft
Model of NASA's Orion spacecraft

The Huntsville Times reports that NASA has officially cut the crew size for its new Orion spacecraft from six to four:

The capsule, which is basically twice as large as the iconic Apollo moon ships, had grown in weight to more than 22,000 pounds. The spacecraft is slated to sit on top of the Marshall Space Flight Center-managed Ares I rocket.

A review board last week looked at options and settled on reducing the crew numbers, said NASA’s Grey Hautaluoma, a spokesman in Washington DC. A memo directing Orion management, and its prime contractor Lockheed Martin, is in the works and should be issued soon, Hautaluoma said….

“As part of the Constellation Program’s Integrated Program Review on April 14-17, NASA decided that the Orion will be baselined to initially carry four, instead of six, crew to the International Space Station,” Hautaluoma said. “The Orion crew module’s size and shape, which can support a six-person crew option, will not change as a result of this decision, thus giving NASA the flexibility to carry six crew for other missions.”

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