01.09.2009
FLUG REVUE

Orion spacecraft passes preliminary design review

NASA has completed the Orion Project's preliminary design review. Orion is being designed to carry astronauts to the International Space Station and other destinations.

The PDR process culminated with a review board that concluded Aug. 31 and established the basis for proceeding to the critical design phase of Orion. Participants identified technical and management challenges and addressed ways to reduce potential risks as the project goes forward.

Teams representing each subsystem of Orion conducted focused reviews from February to July before proceeding to the overall vehicle-level review. The preliminary design review lasted about two months and included reviewers from all 10 NASA field centers to evaluate the hundreds of design products delivered by the Lockheed Martin-led industry partnership.

"This is the successful culmination of all of the design trade studies and activities to date," said Mark Geyer, manager of the Orion Project Office at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. "As a project, a program and an agency, we are reviewing the design maturity, strategy and plans for NASA's next human spacecraft and agreeing that this is the architecture we are going to build."

The Orion features a capsule-shaped crew module designed for maximum crew operability and safety, a service module housing utility systems and propulsion components and a launch abort system for improved astronaut safety. The preliminary design review evaluated the vehicle's capability, as currently designed, to support three types of missions: flights to the International Space Station, weeklong missions to the moon and missions to the moon for up to 210 days.




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