NASA’s Orion Program Needs Firm Funding

NASA Orion

Lockheed, Lawmakers Urge NASA To Fund Orion Development at 2010 Level
Space News

Lockheed Martin officials along with Colorado lawmakers are warning that NASA’s spending plan for the Orion crew capsule over the next year is insufficient to retain the program’s current development work force and would make it difficult to conduct a flight test of a vehicle prototype the company envisions for late 2013.

In an Oct. 8 letter to U.S. President Barack Obama, Sen. Michael Bennet and Rep. Ed Perlmutter — both Colorado Democrats — said until Congress hammers out a new 2011 spending bill, NASA must fully fund Orion’s continued development as a crew exploration vehicle, regardless of the president’s plan to scale it back for use as a crew lifeboat on the international space |station.

“Maintaining the [2010] level of funding at this crucial time — during which the federal government is operating under a Continuing Resolution (CR) — would continue to allow for an Orion test flight as early as 2013,” the lawmakers state in the letter, which notes that both the newly enacted 2010 NASA Authorization Act and draft appropriations legislation “include language in favor of continuing Orion, not just as a crew rescue vehicle, but with its entire original mission portfolio, including service to the [international space station] and missions in Deep Space.”

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