Orion crew size reduced by 2!

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trailrider

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Apparently NASA has decided to reduce the number of seats in the Orion spacecraft from six to four! The ostensible reason is not so much to reduce weight (which it does), but to eliminate having to develop two different configurations, saving money and development time!

Of course this will mean they will need two vehicles attached to the ISS to provide escape capability instead of the one. That will reduce the flexibility of ISS operations.

This, of course, follows elimnating the landfall landing capability. To me this is the result of selecting the Ares I configuration, as well as the failure of both the Bush and Obama administrations AND Congress to properly fund the Constellation Program. IMHO, this bodes ill for the whole U.S. manned space program. It's like being nibbled to death by butterflies. This is what happened to the Shuttle when they switched from the manned flyback booster to the SRB/ET configuration! :cry:

Anybody know how to say and write: Ad LEO! Ad Luna! Ad Ares! Ad Astra!...in Mandarin Chinese!? :?
 
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Zipi

Guest
I as well like to see the link to the original article which states this....

But even this is true I don't see too big problems for this kind of approach since most probably there will always be at least one Soyuz docked to the station.

For some reason I cannot imagine Russians to buy or some otherway trade rides to ISS from NASA. Of course this can happen at some occasions but for larger scale I don't think it's gonna happen (I cannot represent any sensible arguments for this, but it is still my feeling about it).

So if Russians are ferrying their crew and NASA doing it's own part, I cannot see any problems for escape ship point of view.

[EDIT]

I found the article:

http://blog.al.com/space-news/2009/04/n ... xplor.html

But if you start worrying about shrinking crew size of Orion, please take a look at Dragon's capacity:

http://www.spacex.com/dragon.php

It has capatibility to carry seven person crew so where is Orion needed anyways? ;) Ok, I know NASA need to have it's own ship as well. But I'm pretty confident that we will see Dragon flying pretty soon compared to the Orion.

[/EDIT]
 
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trailrider

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Editor: Thanks for providing the link!

Well, this reminds me of a long time ago, in a "galaxy" far, far away (long before I was born, actually), when the U.S. Gov't was depending on a noted professor to develop an "aerodrome" (plane). His scale models did pretty well, until he went for the full-sized machine, at which point he experienced a bunch of failures! IIRC, Congress then cut off his funding. A pair of bicycle mechanics from "way out west" in Ohio, then flew the first (so far as history has credited) powered airplane. Interestingly, both got USAF bases named after them....Langley AFB and Wright Field (now Wright-Patterson AFB). So maybe the scurrying furry little critters will eventually take the place of the big dinosaur! I just hope they do it in the next 25-30 years, while I'm around to see it.

NASA better watch out, there might be a fire-breathing Dragon chasing them! :roll: Better a SpaceX Dragon...than a Chinese Dragon!

Ad LEO! Ad Luna! Ad Ares! Ad Astra!
 
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job1207

Guest
Frankly, even though I am a sailor, and used to tight spaces, I would not want to be sitting in the rear three Dragon seats for very long. Well, a form fitting seat would help. Nevertheless.

The story of course is reducing Orion to four. Can we please get it right. Four is not enough. Go big or go home.
 
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JonClarke

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trailrider":1ry17t1q said:
Apparently NASA has decided to reduce the number of seats in the Orion spacecraft from six to four! The ostensible reason is not so much to reduce weight (which it does), but to eliminate having to develop two different configurations, saving money and development time!
I saw the story too (can't find it again at the moment). But don't panic, it is just a trade off study, it is not a decision or even a preferred option.
 
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Boris_Badenov

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JonClarke":3lesdfat said:
I saw the story too (can't find it again at the moment). But don't panic, it is just a trade off study, it is not a decision or even a preferred option.
I sure hope you're right Jon. I would hate to see this happen & believe it'll be the death sentence for Constellation if it does.
 
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trailrider

Guest
JonClarke":111mhsfy said:
trailrider":111mhsfy said:
Apparently NASA has decided to reduce the number of seats in the Orion spacecraft from six to four! The ostensible reason is not so much to reduce weight (which it does), but to eliminate having to develop two different configurations, saving money and development time!
I saw the story too (can't find it again at the moment). But don't panic, it is just a trade off study, it is not a decision or even a preferred option.
Not according to the article in the Atlanta (?) Times! This is no trade study! It's a decision made by NASA. The only thing about the decision is that theoretically they are saying they can "always add the two seats back in" [my paraphrase], but there currently is "no customer" for a six-seat version, and, since the lift weight won't change, it adds to the pressurized cargo carrying capability. (Economic times being what they are, is anyone interested in buying a bridge over the Banana River? ;) I have often wondered what became of the mirrors used to align the old Minuteman I missiles... add a little smoke and there you are ... :?
 
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centsworth_II

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trailrider":126egt4g said:
NASA better watch out, there might be a fire-breathing Dragon chasing them! :roll: Better a SpaceX Dragon...than a Chinese Dragon!
I don't understand why there is continued insistence in some quarters of seeing private rockets as competition to NASA. NASA welcomes and financially supports private endeavors. There is plenty on NASA's plate when it comes to space science. Everyone, NASA foremost, welcomes the day when private industry can take over the more mundane aspects of space faring.
 
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JonClarke

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trailrider":a04mzqpv said:
JonClarke":a04mzqpv said:
Not according to the article in the Atlanta (?) Times! This is no trade study! It's a decision made by NASA. The only thing about the decision is that theoretically they are saying they can "always add the two seats back in" [my paraphrase], but there currently is "no customer" for a six-seat version, and, since the lift weight won't change, it adds to the pressurized cargo carrying capability. (Economic times being what they are, is anyone interested in buying a bridge over the Banana River? ;) I have often wondered what became of the mirrors used to align the old Minuteman I missiles... add a little smoke and there you are ... :?
The story I saw was a trade study for actual physical reduction to four. I don't see how carrying four people in a six person spacecraft is a reduction in capability.

And your snide "smoke and mirrows" comment is just FUD.

Jon
 
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centsworth_II

Guest
JonClarke":glnkwk6g said:
I don't see how carrying four people in a six person spacecraft is a reduction in capability.
:D Right!
Why do we need that much sausage stuffing anyway? How many astronauts does it take to screw in a light bulb?
 
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vulture4

Guest
The Ares was always cramped with six aboard; it could possibly serve as an emergency lifeboat for an ISS crew of six, but it's not practical for routine flights, and there's little to no space for payloads. What's more, we'll be launching only twice a year for as far into the future as many of us are likely to be around. We once launched and recovered nine shuttles in 12 months; our kids will see only eight people total go into space each year, and only two tiny capsules come back.
 
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centsworth_II

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vulture4":8x5za4dm said:
...our kids will see only eight people total go into space each year...
Yeah, but they'll see them go to the Moon, and maybe Mars.

I'd rather see a tiny capsule bring astronauts back from exploring the Moon than a Space Shuttle bring astronauts back from LEO any day.
 
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earth_bound_misfit

Guest
centsworth_II":2n6wn408 said:
How many astronauts does it take to screw in a light bulb?
That depends. Down here (Australia) only one would be required, but he/she would have to be a registered electrician :x
I jest you not, though this only applies for ES (Edison Screw) types, BC (Bayonet Cap) are fine, any pleb can change those.
 
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aaron38

Guest
Well if they only need Orion to carry 4 for lunar missions and Dragon is handling ISS duties, then it should be fine. But this seems to reinforce all the rumors that Orion is overweight, and I'm hoping there isn't another shoe to drop out there.
 
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centsworth_II

Guest
aaron38":1s9hk2vt said:
...this seems to reinforce all the rumors that Orion is overweight...
Was the elimination of a six person design because of weight issues, or was it to eliminate the cost of having a second design? (Cost rather than weight as the issue was mentioned in the opening post.)
 
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vulture4

Guest
Cost was probably the main factor, but I think the actual volume inside the capsule was also a problem, for payloads, supplies, etc. Remember the Soyuz is extremely cramped, and while the CEV is considerably larger it does not have the "orbital" module extension.

Personally, if I had a chance to go to LEO I would not be bored, but that's just me.
 
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newsartist

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How many rode the first Shuttle flights, compared to ultimate seating?
 
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MeteorWayne

Guest
2 out of (AFAIK) 7 max uphill seats.

It was after all the first test flight :)

John W. Young - Commander
Robert Crippen - Pilot
 
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Zipi

Guest
newsartist":8cz7ge3l said:
How many rode the first Shuttle flights, compared to ultimate seating?
More info about the first shuttle flight:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/STS-1

Off topic for this thread, but I had to say it was pretty intresting to read...

[EDIT]I had to start reading through all of the STS missions from Wikipedia... Currently I'm on STS-41 but now it is 0:22 Finnish time and probably the time when I really should go to sleep. :roll:

So you have been warned about reading of the above article. ;)

EndOfOffTopic
[/EDIT]
 
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vulture4

Guest
Shuttle was intended to make up to 500 flights. The first 4 were "test flights", so the 2-man crew was seen as a risk reduction measure, not because of cost or space limitations. It's not clear how many Constellation flights are planned in all, but the total is less than even the actual number of Shuttle flights flown. The six-person crew was intended only for ISS, not lunar missions, and the number of ISS missions is fairly limited. Since the ISS missions currently bring up part of a crew, and the entire ISS crew at this point appears likely to be limited to six, then the Orion crew might be simply limited to three, with all staying for the full increment. On the other hand, if there are no Soyuz flights at all and only two Orion flights per year, changing out the entire crew of six might be desirable, and the number of seats might be increased. It depends on what the misison objectives are, and how much we want to pay to achieve them.

As to whether it is better to go to the moon or Mars than LEO, you have to ask whoever is paying the bills. personally I would value the opportunity to go to LEO personally higher than the opportunity to watch a few others to go to the moon, but that's just me. Are we going to maintain the lunar base indefinitely, or abandon the moon after a few years while we go on to Mars? How much will it cost per year to supply the moon base with the Ares I and V? What returns will it provide on the investment? I suspect current and future administrations will want some clear answers.
 
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centsworth_II

Guest
vulture4":2qioce5f said:
...Are we going to maintain the lunar base indefinitely, or abandon the moon after a few years....
As I understand it, even an extended lifespan for the ISS will be ending around the time we would be setting a base up on the Moon. Are there plans for a successor to the ISS?
 
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pathfinder_01

Guest
MeteorWayne":32l1nh45 said:
2 out of (AFAIK) 7 max uphill seats.

It was after all the first test flight :)

John W. Young - Commander
Robert Crippen - Pilot
If I remember correctly the shuttles max. crew capacity is 8. 7 is a typical crew and in an emergency the shuttle could squeeze in 10(althought I am not sure if that 10 is uphill or not).
 
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Zipi

Guest
pathfinder_01":31mqrpot said:
MeteorWayne":31mqrpot said:
2 out of (AFAIK) 7 max uphill seats.

It was after all the first test flight :)

John W. Young - Commander
Robert Crippen - Pilot
If I remember correctly the shuttles max. crew capacity is 8. 7 is a typical crew and in an emergency the shuttle could squeeze in 10(althought I am not sure if that 10 is uphill or not).
There has been 8 persons in the shuttle at least in German Spacelab mission STS-61-A:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/STS-61-A
 
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