05 September 2009

LM says Orion Modules could go to Asteroids

Orion Could Be Used For Asteroid Missions.

SPACE.com (9/2, Covault) reports, "A manned asteroid mission using two Orion spacecraft, docked nose-to-nose to form a 50-ton deep space vehicle, is being studied by Lockheed Martin Space Systems as an alternative to resumption of US lunar landing missions." Space.com adds that using Orion "for asteroid missions and other deep space sites would maximize utilization of the Orion system if lunar landings are deleted as a near term goal." While "the official NASA line has been solidly 'all moon' for the last several years," despite "more realistic assessments" showing it "is not feasible, NASA more recently became "more open about an asteroid mission capability for Orion after space scientists and planners meeting before formation of the committee began to criticize the lunar goal as too fragile." Meanwhile, "a Lockheed Martin video "shown in early August at a propulsion conference in Denver sponsored by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics" had "the twin Orion configuration closely orbiting an asteroid while space suited astronauts explore its surface." The video was "part of a presentation delivered by former astronautBrian Duffy, now Lockheed Martin vice president and program manager for the Altair lunar module part of the Orion lunar landing infrastructure," that "also cited satellite servicing that could be performed by astronauts from an Orion configuration, equipped with a shuttle-type manipulator arm deployed from its service module."

No comments: