Constellations, Launch, New Space and more…
NASA OIG: Funding Problems Threaten Delays in Orion Program

NASA’s $16.5 billion deep space Orion Multi-purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) is suffering from underfunding that threatens increasing program risks and causing delays in a program that won’t fly with astronauts until 2021, the space agency’s watchdog reports.

“Constrained funding for the MPCV forced Program managers to adopt a less-than-optimal incremental development approach in which elements necessary to complete the most immediate tests are given priority while development and testing is delayed on other important but less time sensitive aspects of the Program,” NASA’s Inspector General said in an audit released this week. “While this may be the only realistic and affordable development approach available to NASA given the Program’s current funding profile, such an approach increases risks.”


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  • August 16, 2013
Red State Mayors to Obama: Send Federal Funds Fast!

October 24, 2011

The Honorable Barack H. Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

Thank you for supporting NASA Administrator Bolden’s recent announcement to move forward on the Space Launch System (SLS). As you know, our communities have been deeply affected by the retirement of the Space Shuttle Program and the cancellation of the Constellation Program. Collectively, the Houston, Texas and Huntsville, Alabama communities have faced the loss of thousands of jobs in the aerospace industry, which has been devastating, particularly at a time when the economy struggles to recover.


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  • October 30, 2011
Senate Budget Includes Funding for SLS/Orion Ground Infrastructure

Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center

In addition to spending $3 billion on the Space Launch System and Orion Multipurpose Crew Vehicle, the Senate’s proposed budget directs NASA to also focus on the ground infrastructure required to support these programs using different parts of the space agency’s budget. The budget areas include ground operations, rocket test facilities, and the 21st Century Launch Complex Initiative. Precisely how much money from these budgets will go toward funding infrastructure for SLS/Orion as well as commercial crew ventures depends upon future NASA action.

A summary drawn from the Senate’s budget proposal follows.


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  • September 16, 2011
NASA Begins Work on First Space-Bound Orion Spacecraft

NASA PR — NEW ORLEANS — Construction began this week on the first new NASA spacecraft built to take humans to orbit since space shuttle Endeavour left the factory in 1991, and marked a significant milestone in carrying out the ambitious exploration vision President Obama and Congress have laid out for the nation.

Engineers at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans started welding together the first space-bound Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle. “The Orion team has maintained a steady focus on progress, and we now are beginning to build hardware for spaceflight,” said Orion Program Manager Mark Geyer, NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Houston.


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  • September 9, 2011

ESA, NASA Discuss Joint Manned Missions Aviation Week The European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA are discussing plans to build a joint U.S.-European spacecraft based on existing designs that could ferry astronauts to the International Space Station and one day carry humans beyond low Earth orbit. Speaking at the Paris air show June 20, ESA Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain said the space agencies are hashing out a plan that would […]

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  • June 24, 2011
Shuttle ‘STORRMs’ Space Station in Successful Rendezvous Test

LOCKHEED MARTIN PR — DENVER  — In an unprecedented on-orbit maneuver, Commander Mark Kelly completed the first ever Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV)-like approach to the International Space Station at 3:24 a.m. CDT today as part of the Sensor Test for Orion Relative Navigation Risk Mitigation (STORRM). The orbital rendezvous verified the successful operation of the MPCV’s next generation docking sensor, which NASA has identified as a critical technology needed for future space exploration missions.


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  • June 1, 2011
The Incredibly Shrinking Orion/MPCV Program

Orion Program Shrinking To Save Money, Time Aviation Week Lockheed Martin has cut out an entire test article from the Orion crew exploration vehicle that it is recasting in a new role as deep-space Multi Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV), combining test objectives for the remaining articles in an effort to keep the vehicle within the tight schedule set by Congress. By combining the tests that will be conducted with particular […]

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  • April 22, 2011