connies4ever
Posts: 3393
Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2006 10:54 pm

Orion Test Flight In 2013?

Mon Jun 11, 2007 9:42 am

According to Jeff Hanley, Constellation program manager, there is a significant probability that a piloted flight of Orion could occur as early as 2013: http://www.space.com/news/070607_constellation_update.html

This seems really agressive to me, but then again, if ISS is complete by 2010 and can support a crew of six, how will the crew get transported to/from ISS ? Soyuz TMA can only transfer a single crew member at a time, unless the Russians have something up their sleeve (and I don't mean Kliper).

Article goes on to quote Scott Horowitz as saying "all major elements" will be contracted by year end.

Quite frankly I hope this works out for the best.
Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
 
Thorny
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RE: Orion Test Flight In 2013?

Mon Jun 11, 2007 11:24 am

Soyuz can carry three people. The plan is to have two Soyuz at ISS at all times... enough for six crew starting in 2009, I think.

2013 for Orion's first manned flight is a pipedream. To get there, it means no more budget shortfalls and everything works as designed between now and first flight. So far, Constellation is underperforming (the Ares I bears almost no resemblance to the launch vehicle NASA originally promised) and behind schedule (2012 was dropped very quickly), and the budget increase Bush promised when he initiated the program has not materialized.

And NASA has never had a manned space program launch on its original schedule. 2015-2016 is a much, much safer bet.
 
connies4ever
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RE: Orion Test Flight In 2013?

Mon Jun 11, 2007 6:53 pm

Yes, Soyuz TMA can carry three people, but someone has to pilot up and down, and that person isn't going to be ISS crew. So max two transfers per Soyuz flight. From what I've seen, I think the policy has been to have a flight engineer on the Soyuz crew, not as a transfer pax, but I suppose that can be changed. That would still mean a minimum of three Soyuz flights to rotate a full ISS crew of six. That's a lot of Soyuz flights until Orion is flight-ready.

I tend to agree that 2013 seems ambitious for a first piloted Orion flight.
Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
 
Thorny
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RE: Orion Test Flight In 2013?

Tue Jun 12, 2007 3:08 am

Quoting Connies4ever (Reply 2):
Yes, Soyuz TMA can carry three people, but someone has to pilot up and down, and that person isn't going to be ISS crew.

Yes, that person is. Yurchikhin was pilot of the last Soyuz launch (in April) and is now commander of ISS. He replaced another Russian pilot who launched last October and flew home in April.

Each Soyuz and its crew of three remains at ISS for six months at a time, although sometimes the third person rides up on the new Soyuz and leaves on the old Soyuz a week later. Generally that's because the third ISS crewmember will be replaced by someone on an upcoming Shuttle flight. Technically, Soyuz doesn't need a pilot (Progress flies to ISS remotely operated or autonomously all the time, a few have even made safely landings autonomously too) but hell will freeze over before Russia launches a Soyuz without at least one Russian pilot on board (and I don't begrudge them that.)

The ISS crew will probably be two pilot-types and four scientist-types after Node 3 arrives. The two pilots will probably also be trained in Station operations (as they are now), and two scientists will probably also have cursory training on Soyuz operations (as they do now), enough to know which switches to throw and when for an automatic re-entry in case a pilot gets appendicitis or something.

Edit: Kotov was the Soyuz pilot, not Yurchikhin.

[Edited 2007-06-11 20:12:20]
 
connies4ever
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RE: Orion Test Flight In 2013?

Tue Jun 12, 2007 6:26 am

I'll defer to yuor knowledge, Thorny. Perhaps I haven't been paying attention so much as Soyuz has become such a routine mission. I had thought the pilot always returned with the exchange passenger (or tourist). But there you go, learn something every day.

But I think 2013 is pretty optimistic, for sure.
Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.

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