|Role:||Beyond LEO, back-up for commercial cargo and crew to the ISS|
|Carrier rocket:||Space Launch System(planned-deep space),|
Delta IV (test flight),
Ares I (cancelled)
|Launch date:||December 2013 or later (uncrewed test launch)|
|Diameter:||5 m (16.5 ft)|
|Pressurized volume:||19.56 m3 (691 cu ft) |
|Habitable volume:||8.95 m3 (316 cu ft) |
|Capsule mass:||8,913 kg (19,650 lb)|
|Service Module mass:||12,337 kg (27,198 lb)|
|Total mass:||21,250 kg (46,848 lb)|
|Service Module propellant mass:||7,907 kg (17,433 lb)|
|Total delta-v:||1,595 m/s|
Our second goal is to develop and test a new spacecraft, the Crew Exploration Vehicle, by 2008, and to conduct the first manned mission no later than 2014. The Crew Exploration Vehicle will be capable of ferrying astronauts and scientists to the Space Station after the shuttle is retired. But the main purpose of this spacecraft will be to carry astronauts beyond our orbit to other worlds. This will be the first spacecraft of its kind since the Apollo Command Module.
After the replacement of Sean O'Keefe, NASA's procurement schedule and strategy completely changed, as described above. In July 2004, before he was named NASA administrator, Michael Griffin participated in a study called "Extending Human Presence Into the Solar System" for The Planetary Society, as a co-team leader. The study offers a strategy for carrying out Project Constellation in an affordable and achievable manner. Since Griffin was one of the leaders of the study, it can be assumed that he agrees with its conclusions, and the study may show insight into possible future developments of the CEV. Griffin's actions as administrator supported the goals of the plan.
- Stage 1 – "Features the development of a new crew exploration vehicle (CEV), the completion of the International Space Station (ISS), and an early retirement of the shuttle orbiter. Orbiter retirement would be made as soon as the ISS U.S. Core is completed (perhaps only 6 or 7 flights) and the smallest number of additional flights necessary to satisfy our international partners’ ISS requirements. Money saved by early orbiter retirement would be used to accelerate the CEV development schedule shorten the hiatus in U.S. capability to reach and return from LEO."
- Stage 2 – "Requires the development of additional assets, including an updated CEV capable of extended missions of many months in interplanetary space. Habitation, laboratory, consumables, and propulsion modules, to enable human flight to the vicinities of the Moon and Mars, the Lagrange points, and certain near-Earth asteroids."
- Stage 3 – "Development of human-rated planetary landers is completed in Stage 3, allowing human missions to the surface of the Moon and Mars beginning around 2020."
Design revisions and updates
- July 2006 design revisions
- April 2007 contract revision
- May 2007 design update
- August 2007 design update
2009 Human Space Flight Plans Committee
- "Glass cockpit" digital control systems derived from that of the Boeing 787.
- An "autodock" feature, like those of Russian Progress spacecraft and the European Automated Transfer Vehicle, with provision for the flight crew to take over in an emergency. Previous American spacecraft (Gemini, Apollo, and Space Shuttle) have all required manual piloting for docking.
- Improved waste-management facilities, with a miniature camping-style toilet and the unisex "relief tube" used on the space shuttle (whose system was based on that used on Skylab) and the International Space Station (based on the Soyuz, Salyut, and Mir systems). This eliminates the use of the much-hated plastic "Apollo bags" used by the Apollo crews.
- A nitrogen/oxygen (N2/O2) mixed atmosphere at either sea level (101.3 kPa or 14.69 psi) or slightly reduced (55.2 to 70.3 kPa or 8.01 to 10.20 psi) pressure.
- Much more advanced computers than on previous manned spacecraft.
ATV-based Service module
|"ESA’s contribution is going to be critical to the success of Orion’s 2017 mission"|
|—NASA Orion Program manager|
Launch Abort System
Abort Flight Test (AFT)
|This article's factual accuracy may be compromised due to out-of-date information. (January 2013)|
Post-landing Orion Recovery Test (PORT)
|Acronym||Mission name||Launch Date||Rocket||Duration||Remarks|
|EFT-1||Exploration Flight Test-1||Early 2014||Delta IV Heavy||Uncrewed high apogee trajectory test flight of the Orion Crew Module in Earth Orbit.|
|EM-1||Exploration Mission-1||2017||SLS Block I||7–10 days||Send an uncrewed Orion on a circumlunar trajectory.|
|EM-2||Exploration Mission-2||2019-2021||SLS Block I||10–14 days||Send Orion with a crew of four into Lunar elliptical orbit (typically 100 x 5000 km).|
|EM-3||Exploration Mission-3||2022||SLS Block IA||Destination TBA|
Existing craft and mockups
- The Boilerplate Test Article (BTA) underwent splashdown testing at the Hydro Impact Basin of NASA's Langley Research Center. The BTA contains over 150 sensors to gather data on its test drops. Testing of the 18,000 pound mockup ran from July 2011 to 6 January 2012.
- The Ground Test Article (GTA) stack, located at Lockheed Martin in Denver, is undergoing vibration testing. It is made up by the Orion Ground Test Vehicle (GTV) combined with its Launch Abort System (LAS). Further testing will see the addition of Service Module simulator panels and Thermal Protection System (TPS) to the GTA stack.
- The Drop Test Article (DTA), also known as the Drop Test Vehicle (DTV) is undergoing test drops at the US Army’s Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona. The mock Orion parachute compartment is dropped from an altitude of 25,000 feet from a C-130. Testing began in 2007. Drogue chutes deploy around 15,000 and 20,000 feet. Testing of the reefing staged parachutes includes partial failure instances including partial opening and complete failure of one of the three main parachutes. With only two chutes deployed the DTA lands at 33 feet per second, the maximum touchdown speed for Orion's design. Other related test vehicles include the now-defunct Orion Parachute Test Vehicle (PTV) and its replacement the Generation II Parachute Test Vehicle (PTV2). The drop test program has had several failures in 2007, 2008, and 2010. The new PTV was successfully tested 29 February 2012 deploying from a C-17. Ten drag chutes will drag the mock up's pallet from the aircraft for the drop at 25,000 feet. The landing parachute set of eight is known as the Capsule Parachute Assembly System (CPAS). The test examined air flow disturbance behind the mimicked full size vehicle and its effects on the parachute system. The PTV landed at 17 mph to the desert floor. A third test vehicle, the PCDTV3, is scheduled for a drop on 17 April 2012. In this testing “The CPAS team continued preparation activities for the Parachute Compartment Drop Test Vehicle (PCDTV3) airdrop test, scheduled for April 17, which will deploy the two drogue parachutes in the highest dynamic pressure environment to date, and will demonstrate a main parachute skipped second stage.”
- Exploration Flight Test 1 (EFT-1) Orion (re-designation of OFT-1) constructed at Michoud Assembly Facility, was delivered by Lockheed Martin to the Kennedy Space Center on July 2, 2012.