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MarsNews.com :: NewsWire :: Crew Exploration Vehicle

July 8, 2014

NASA finalizes contract to build the most powerful rocket ever Los Angeles Times
SA has reached a milestone in its development of the Space Launch System, or SLS, which is set to be the most powerful rocket ever and may one day take astronauts to Mars. After completing a critical design review, Boeing Co. has finalized a $2.8-billion contract with the space agency. The deal allows full production on the rocket to begin. “Our teams have dedicated themselves to ensuring that the SLS – the largest ever -- will be built safely, affordably and on time,” Virginia Barnes, Boeing's Space Launch System vice president and program manager, said in a statement. The last time NASA’s completed a critical design review of a deep-space human rocket was 1961, when the space agency assessed the mighty Saturn V, which ultimately took man to the moon. Work on the 321-foot Space Launch System is spread throughout Southern California, including Boeing's avionics team in Huntington Beach. The rocket’s core stage will get its power from four RS-25 engines for former space shuttle main engines built by Aerojet Rocketdyne of Canoga Park.

June 26, 2014

NASA's deep-space craft readying for launch
The U.S. space shuttle program retired in 2011, leaving American astronauts to hitchhike into orbit. But after three long years, NASA's successor is almost ready to make an entrance. Orion, the agency's newest manned spaceship, is being prepared for its first mission in December. In future missions, it will journey into deep space -- to Mars and beyond -- farther than humans have ever gone before. Orion comes loaded with superlatives. It boasts the largest heat shield ever built and a computer 400 times faster than the ones on the space shuttles. It will be launched into space on the most powerful rocket NASA has ever made. No astronauts will be aboard the December flight, which will test the spacecraft's systems for future manned missions.

February 26, 2014

Full Committee Hearing - Mars Flyby 2021: The First Deep Space Mission for the Orion and Space Launch System? House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology
The Science, Space, and Technology Committee will hold a hearing titled Mars Flyby 2021: The First Deep Space Mission for the Orion and SLS at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, February 27th. This hearing will explore the need for a roadmap of missions to guide investments in NASA's human spaceflight programs, how a manned mission to flyby the planets Mars and Venus launching in 2021 might fit into a series of missions and how the Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion Multipurpose Crew Vehicle could contribute to that mission.

October 16, 2013

Spaceflight experts work on alternate vision for Mars trips NBC News
While NASA works on a multibillion-dollar, decades-long space exploration plan that relies on monster rockets, an informal cadre of engineers is laying out a different vision that would take advantage of cheaper, smaller spacecraft that can fuel up at "truck stops" along the way. Right now, the alternate vision, known as the "Stairway to Mars," is little more than an engineering exercise. But the plan's proponents on the Space Development Steering Committee say their scenario for Mars missions in the 2030s may have a better chance of becoming a reality than NASA's scenario.

April 29, 2013

John Kelly: NASA still aiming for manned Mars mission
NASA’s not giving up on flying people to Mars. Some critics of the space agency’s recent proposal to fly astronauts to an asteroid say we’re “settling” for something less than the big prize: humans walking on the red planet. Not true. The mission to an asteroid is part of a stepping-stone approach to sending human beings exploring deeper into the solar system. A sensible look at NASA’s current flight capabilities, human limitations and the space exploration budget means Mars isn’t possible yet. NASA’s top human spaceflight chief, Bill Gerstenmaier, recently went over the payoffs with a committee of the NASA Advisory Council.

October 25, 2012

ATK Selected to Develop MegaFlex™ Solar Array Structure ATK
MegaFlex™ solar array was recently selected by NASA's Space Technology Program under a Game Changing Technology competition for development of the promising lightweight and compact solar array structure. ATK received a $6.4 million contract for the MegaFlex™ development. MegaFlex™, under development by ATK's Space Components Division in Goleta, California, is designed specifically to meet the anticipated power demands of 350kW and higher, with very low mass and small stowed volume for future space exploration missions using solar electric propulsion. "We are honored to win this program to develop the future space exploration power platform for NASA," said David Shanahan, vice president and general manager of ATK Aerospace Group's Space Components Division. "This win is a result of the outstanding innovation and capabilities of our Goleta team."

March 21, 2010

Room for Debate: Where, If Anywhere, Is NASA Headed? Scientific American
On complex issues, as is often said, it is possible for intelligent people to disagree. That was certainly the case March 15 at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, when five leaders of the space exploration intelligentsia met to discuss NASA's plans for human spaceflight. The topic of the event, the 10th annual Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate, could hardly have been more timely, given the February budget request from President Obama that sought to drastically change NASA's direction for human spaceflight and the way the agency does that business. If the budget survives Congress, NASA could start hiring private corporations to launch U.S. astronauts into orbit rather than use its own hardware; Obama's plan would also scrap the existing Constellation Program, including the Ares rockets being developed to lift humans beyond low Earth orbit for the first time since the 1970s.
Sen. Nelson Floats Alternate Use for NASA Commercial Crew Money Space News
As the Senate Commerce Committee begins work on a 2010 NASA authorization bill, science and space subcommittee chairman Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) is questioning whether $6 billion the U.S. space agency is seeking for developing a commercial crew taxis might be better spent on a heavy-lift rocket that could take humans beyond low Earth orbit. Nelson told a NASA Kennedy Space Center-area audience March 19 that he expects U.S. President Barack Obama to “revamp his budget” and set specific goals for the nation’s human spaceflight program when he visits Florida April 15 to talk space.

August 31, 2006

Lockheed Martin to build future moonship
Lockheed Martin on Thursday won NASA's multibillion-dollar nod to build the Orion crew exploration vehicle, a spaceship with a look and a mission that echoes the space agency's giant leap to the moon in the 1960s. The announcement kicks off an effort to produce spacecraft that would replace NASA's fleet of space shuttles, due for retirement in 2010. NASA's timetable calls for the cone-shaped Orion ships to bring cargo or up to six crew members to the international space station by 2014, and carry up to four astronauts to the moon and back by 2020.

December 19, 2005

NASA's New Spaceship Builder Has Sights on the Moon, Mars Washington Post
The idea for what is known as the "Scotty Rocket," came to Scott J. Horowitz and several fellow astronauts during brainstorming sessions after space shuttle Columbia disintegrated over Texas in 2003. "The idea was 'safe, simple and soon,' " Horowitz said. Build the new rocket "in line," with the spacecraft on top so debris won't hit it during launch. Use shuttle technology whenever possible because it's already certified to carry humans. And build it with shuttle engineers -- to get it done quickly. "Quite frankly, people weren't very interested," Horowitz said. Things have changed.

October 14, 2005

Northrop Grumman-Boeing Team Unveils Plans for Crew Exploration Vehicle Press Release
A Northrop Grumman-Boeing team today unveiled its plans to design and build NASA's proposed Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV), a modular space system intended to carry humans to the International Space Station by 2012 and back to the moon by 2018. The CEV comprises a crew module that builds on NASA's Apollo spacecraft, a service module and a launch-abort system. It is designed to be carried into space aboard a shuttle-derived launch vehicle a rocket based on the solid rocket booster technology that powers the early phases of current shuttle flights.

July 4, 2005

As NASA evolves, what will replace the shuttle?
Squinting up into the bright sky, more than 400,000 people waited for Discovery in the California desert on that October morning in 1988. The space shuttle program had been grounded for almost three years after the Challenger disaster. But the successful flight of space shuttle Discovery felt like a new beginning to the crowd. People whooped and sobbed as the shuttle punched out two sonic booms and glided to a landing at Edwards Air Force Base. Almost 17 years later, Discovery is again returning the grounded space program to flight this time after the loss of Columbia and its crew in February 2003.
NASA's Moon Plans Shift into High Gear
NASA is set to begin rolling out the results of a landmark space exploration architecture study that calls for building an Apollo-like astronaut capsule and conducting up to six lunar sorties per year using rocket hardware derived from the space shuttle. Sixty days in the making, the Exploration Systems Architecture Study will go a long way toward defining the approach and the hardware NASA will use to return astronauts to the Moon by 2020, and eventually go on to Mars.

July 1, 2005

NASA Plans to Build Two New Shuttle-derived Launch Vehicles
According to a new NASA study, when America goes back to the moon and on to Mars it will do so with hardware that looks very familiar. NASA has decided to build two new launch systems - both of which will draw upon existing Space Shuttle hardware. One vehicle will be a cargo-only heavy lifter, the other will be used to launch the Crew Exploration Vehicle.

May 9, 2005

t/Space Offers an Option for Closing Shuttle, CEV Gap Space News
Transformational Space Corp. (t/Space), a company founded in response to the new U.S. vision for space exploration, thinks it can help NASA close the gap between retiring the space shuttle fleet and fielding a Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) to carry astronauts beyond Earth's orbit. The Reston, Va.-based company already already convinced NASA to give it $6 million in exchange for advice on how the U.S. space agency can reach beyond the traditional aerospace industry to answer a presidential call to return to the Moon by 2020. Now t/Space is hoping to convince NASA to part with $400 million in exchange for an Earth-to-orbit crew transfer vehicle, which company executives say they can have ready in 2008.


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