In January 2004 President George W. Bush called upon the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to resume manned missions to the Moon and then to begin manned missions to Mars. A key requirement was that this new program be funded by retiring the space shuttle in 2010 after completing the ISS. The new program, called Constellation after the U.S. Navy’s first ship, would have comprised launch vehicles, a manned spacecraft, and a lunar lander.
A number of options were considered for the new launchers, including adaptations of the existing Delta IV or Atlas V rockets, before it was decided to exploit space shuttle technology to create two new launch vehicles. In June 2006 NASA named the new launchers Ares, after the Greek counterpart of the Roman god Mars. Ares I was designed to carry the manned spacecraft, and the larger Ares V was designed to carry heavier cargo like the lunar lander.
In August 2006 the manned spacecraft, initially dubbed the Crew Exploration Vehicle, was named Orion, after the constellation. Orion would have been 5 metres (16 feet) in diameter and would have had a launch mass of 22,700 kg (50,000 pounds). It would have consisted of a conical crew module and a cylindrical service module and would have been able to spend six months docked to the ISS. The crew module would have had a volume of 20 cubic metres (700 cubic feet), half of it habitable. It was designed to carry a crew of four. (Originally, Orion was designed to carry six people to the ISS and four to the Moon, but, to save money in designing Orion, NASA decided to concentrate initially on the four-person model and leave the six-person Orion as a possibility for later in the Constellation program.) The service module would have housed the main propulsion system, the attitude-control system, and oxygen and water for the crew module. The overall configuration was reminiscent of the Apollo spacecraft, but the service module would have drawn power from deployable solar panels rather than from fuel cells. A prototype Orion was delivered to NASA in late 2007. The first and only test flight of an Ares I launched on Oct. 28, 2009, and the first launch with a crew was initially scheduled to be directed to the ISS in 2015.
VISIT OUR WEBSITE:
FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK:
FOLLOW US ON TWITTER: