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US Space Program ‘Embarrassing,’ Says Armstrong

September 24, 2011 3 comments

The first man to walk on the moon had some strong words for the U.S. space program on Thursday, telling the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology that the retirement of the space shuttle has left it in an “embarrassing” state, according to AFP reports.

“We will have no American access to, and return from, low Earth orbit and the International Space Station for an unpredictable length of time in the future,” former astronaut Neil Armstrong, one of four space experts testifying before the committee, said, according to a September 22 report by Kerry Sheridan of the French news agency.

“For a country that has invested so much for so long to achieve a leadership position in space exploration and exploitation, this condition is viewed by many as lamentably embarrassing and unacceptable,” the 81-year-old Apollo 11 commander said.

Full Story: http://www.redorbit.com/news/space/1112387884/us-space-program-embarrassing-says-armstrong/index.html

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NASA Completes Orion Spacecraft Parachute Testing In Arizona

September 24, 2011 Leave a comment

NASA this week completed the first in a series of flight-like parachute tests for the agency’s Orion spacecraft. The drop tests at the U.S. Army’s Yuma Proving Grounds in Arizona support the design and development of the Orion parachute assembly.

Flying at an altitude of 25,000 feet, a drop-test article that mimicked the Orion parachute compartment was deployed from a C-130 aircraft. Once airborne, two drogue chutes were deployed at an altitude of 19,000 feet, followed by three pilot parachutes, which then deployed three main landing parachutes. The drop test article speed as it impacted the desert was approximately 25 feet per second.

The tests were the closest simulation so far to what the actual Orion parachute landing phase will be during a return from space.

Full Story: http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2011/sep/HQ_11-322_Orion_Chute.html

European tech could propel Nasa’s Orion capsule

September 20, 2011 Leave a comment

Europe is looking to play a significant role in America’s plans for the manned exploration of deep space.

Nasa has detailed its vision for a huge new rocket system that could send astronauts to asteroids and even Mars.

European engineers believe they could contribute to this project by providing the propulsion unit that pushes the rocket’s capsule to these locations.

Participation would require the agreement of European member states and a budget to fund the development work.

Full Story: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-14986217

Deep Space Capsule Comes Alive With First Weld

September 13, 2011 Leave a comment

Construction began this week on the first new NASA spacecraft built to take humans to orbit since space shuttle Endeavour left the factory in 1991, and marked a significant milestone in carrying out the ambitious exploration vision President Obama and Congress have laid out for the nation.

Engineers at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans started welding together the first space-bound Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle. “The Orion team has maintained a steady focus on progress, and we now are beginning to build hardware for spaceflight,” said Orion Program Manager Mark Geyer, NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Houston.

Full Story: http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2011/sep/HQ_11-297_Orion_Weld.html