NASA and Lockheed Martin Discuss the Orion Program at VACCO

On March 23, 2017, we were honored to host Annette Hasbrook, NASA Associate Program Manager of Orion and Larry Price, Deputy Program Manager for Orion at Lockheed Martin. They gave VACCO employees an overview of the NASA Orion Program and discussed the future of NASA Manned Space Flight.

NASA Orion Update at VACCO
NASA presentation about Orion program at VACCO

Orion is a spacecraft for astronauts that will realize NASA’s planned journey to Mars. The mission will take up to 6 astronauts the farthest distance into the solar system than ever before. Orion will launch on top of a rocket known as the Space Launch System (SLS).

Orion has 3 sections:

  • Upper section – has the Launch Abort System (LAS) which will activate immediately in the event of an emergency during launch or ascent to orbit to safely propel the crew module away from the rocket.
  • Middle section – has the crew module which will house the astronauts.
  • Lower section – contains the propulsion system and solar panels to generate electricity to enable the spacecraft to stay in orbit for several months.

Orion is similar to the Apollo capsule which took astronauts to the moon in the 1960s and 1970s but larger. It also has a new heat shield to withstand the high temperature that will be encountered during Orion’s re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere. Orion will land in the ocean and is equipped with parachutes to help ensure a safe landing.

The Space Launch System is still being built and once construction is complete, NASA will test Orion with it but a crew will not be on-board. The test mission is known as Exploration Mission-1 and is expected to last about 25 days. Orion will orbit the moon in the mission.

VACCO engineers are proud to have provided propulsion valves and filters for the Space Launch System and Orion spacecraft. Learn more about our aerospace propulsion products