It’s funny I’ve been watching the space shuttle for so many years that when I see a design like this it brings me back to my early childhood of watching the Apollo projects — it’s been that long since I’ve seen a spacecraft that was designed to leave Earth’s orbit. NASA is still awaiting the hear from the Obama administration to find out who the next leader of the space program will be, so it’s questionable if Orion will become real (although the administration seems to be motivated to return to the moon thanks to China).
Lacking a new administrator NASA’s next direction seems a bit uncertain — and part of the problem with the previous administrator was that the Orion Vehicle project which was suppose to replace the space shuttle which ran way over budget. This past week a mockup of part of the new system arrived at the Kennedy Space Center with the hope that NASA can put together a test launch by July. While it’s certain that President Obama wants to return to the moon his immediate focus at the White House has been on trying to rescue the economy, although the space exploration fanboy in me hopes he gives NASA some leadership sooner than later.
It’s great to see some physical evidence of progress with the Orion Exploration Vehicle, but it’s depressing to me to think that it will take until 2020 to get to the moon — and 2030 to get to Mars:
“NASA rolled out its next-generation space capsule here Wednesday, revealing a bulbous module that is scheduled to carry humans back to the moon in 2020 and eventually onward to Mars. Unlike the space-plane shape of the shuttles, the new Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle looks strikingly similar to the old Apollo space capsule that carried Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins to the moon and back in 1969, with Armstrong and Aldrin becoming the first humans to walk on the lunar surface.”