In the early years of the 21st Century, it became painfully obvious that the Space Shuttle's days were numbered. The tragic loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia on February 1, accelerated the search for a practical, low-cost replacement for the vulnerable and hugely expensive space-plane, which had been designed in the mids.
The Apollo capsule and Saturn launch vehicles were scrapped. The myth of its lower cost was maintained in the face of mounting evidence to the contrary until the shuttle Challenger exploded on the way to orbit in In the post-mortem that followed, it was discovered that the shuttle was actually more expensive and very much more operationally constraining in delivering satellites to orbit than the expendable boosters it was supposed to replace.
So the American government abandoned use of the Shuttle for satellite launches and allowed production of expendable launch vehicles to resume.
But the Shuttle was now the only American manned spacecraft, so a new mission was found for it. It was claimed it was now safe after billions of dollars of post-Challenger fixes. It was also claimed that only its unique design would allow NASA to assemble a space station.
The space station project stretched out, until it was taking decades. The shuttle was getting old, and America had no lifeboat - a manned re-entry vehicle - that it could use to rescue crews from the space station if the balky shuttle was unavailable.
On the other hand, NASA saw development of any other manned spacecraft as a threat to the very existence of the Shuttle. The X lifting body was to be developed as a Crew Rescue Vehicle, and perhaps as a Shuttle alternative.
Then in the space shuttle Columbia was lost during re-entry.
The final shuttle myth - that it was safer than alternatives - was demolished. Flights of the shuttle would have to end byit was decided, and therefore a successor ready for flight before then.
Now the requirements for the spacecraft would be extended by requiring it to be the manned return vehicle not just from earth orbit, but from the moon and Mars. Spiral 1 systems would be available by at the latest. They would provide the hardware to replace the space shuttle in support of manned operations in low Earth orbit.
NASA hoped this capability might be available as early aswhen the shuttle was schedule to be retired.
Spiral 1 systems would also allow renewed robotic exploration of the moon. Spiral 2 systems would allow a human landing on the moon, followed by extended duration manned lunar exploration and robotic exploration of Mars in the period Spiral 3 systems would allow establishment of a near-permanent lunar base and continued robotic exploration of Mars.
Lunar surface habitation and power systems would be developed, and the CEV would have to be capable of long-duration lunar-surface or lunar-orbit storage between crew rotations or expeditions.
A single prime contractor would be selected to continue with Phase 2 in late That contractor would develop, test, and deploy a man-rated CEV system capable of supporting Spiral 2 requirements by and hopefully capable of supporting Spiral 3 requirements without further modification.
After completion of phase 2 the contractor would provide sustaining engineering services and production capability to support additional flights and additional CEV spacecraft.
The CEV requirements included: Mass less than 15 to 18 metric tons the precise value to be determined in preliminary contract studies. Abort capability during all phases of flight. Maximum use of existing technology. Open Systems Architecture and use of common hardware and software between equipment built for acceptance testing of the flight system and the ground support equipment used to process the vehicle at the launch site.
Certification by test to the maximum extent possible. The contracts were awarded for a six-month base period. A six-month option would be exercised on a case-by-case basis. The selected companies and the value of their contracts were: However there were some common themes identified by more than one contractor: The optimum CEV would have a mass of under 9 metric tons and a crew of four or less.
The lowest cost launch solution would be to use existing expendable launch vehicles Atlas V and Delta IV or derivative. The most flexible and logical lunar exploration architecture was to assemble lunar expedition components at the L1 Earth-Moon Lagrangian point.
This allowed unconstrained launch and landing schedules, and provided a permanent way station for not only lunar, but Martian exploration.
Lockheed Martin and the team of Northrop Grumman and Boeing.SPF will serve as the primary location for Integrated Environmental Testing (IET) of the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) Ground Test Article and Qualification vehicle.
SPF’s unique capabilities will permit complete environmental testing of the Orion CEV in a single facility at a single location.
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Work is progressing on designing the new Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV), the next generation of NASA spacecraft that will take humans to the International Space Station, back to the Moon.
The Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) was NASA's manned spacecraft for the 21st Century, a throwback to the Apollo capsule, a shuttle replacement with an uncertain future. AKA: Crew Exploration Vehicle;Orion. Status: In development Thrust: kN (14, lbf). Gross mass: 23, kg (51, lb).
Specific impulse: s.
Project Constellation's Orion (formely CEV - Crewed Exploration Vehicle) was to be a manned spacecraft for low earth orbit missions to ISS, missions to the moon and eventually to Mars.. CEV was be a capsule design, which inherited its shape from the Apollo capsule, but will otherwise a completly new construction.
It was to launched on a Ares-1 launcher derived from Space Shuttle technology. The Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) is an element of the Constellation Program that includes launch vehicles, spacecraft, and ground systems needed to embark on a robust space exploration program.