Executive Promotes Role For Orion Capsule

By Frank Morring, Jr. .
Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology .

Human spaceflight is likely to remain in low Earth orbit (LEO) for the foreseeable future. The International Space Station and China's Tiangong-1 are the only destinations within reach, and a lot of effort will go into finding better ways to get there and meaningful research to conduct upon arrival. But Mars is the ultimate destination for this generation of humanity. After a sometimes-brutal struggle over space-exploration resources following the global financial debacle of 2008, work continues at a reduced pace on at least some of the hardware that will be needed to get there. The first stage of NASA's heavy-lift Space Launch System (SLS) has just passed a significant milestone review of system requirements and design and production concepts. The J-2X engine that may someday power its upper stage is moving through ground testing at Stennis Space Center, where the engine's powerpack ran continuously for 19 min. 10 sec. in a June 8 test ...

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