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A Planet Analog Exclusive look at the NASA Orion team

On July 7, 2015 I was privileged to have the opportunity to tour the NASA Orion Deep Space program and meet some key team members at Johnson Space Center in Houston. This was one of the highlights of my engineering career and a long-time goal of mine since I had always wanted to be a NASA engineer since I was 11 years old. Now, being able to write about the technical aspects of NASA and especially regarding the Orion program, I am happy to bring to the Planet Analog audience my exclusive experience during this visit from a technical aspect.

Please click on the image below to step through the slideshow.

Man has been seeking his origin since early times on Earth. The manned Moon landing was the first step to explore our vast universe, the last frontier. A manned Mars landing in 2030 will be the second step towards travel into deep space as rocket propulsion technology matures to carry us well beyond and look for the answers we seek as well as enhance our plight on Earth. As astronaut Doug Wheelock once told me regarding why we go to explore space, and I paraphrase: It's not the destination; it's the journey in between where we will learn about ourselves, develop new technologies and enhance our lives on Earth with our exciting discoveries.

Man has been seeking his origin since early times on Earth. The manned Moon landing was the first step to explore our vast universe, the last frontier. A manned Mars landing in 2030 will be the second step towards travel into deep space as rocket propulsion technology matures to carry us well beyond and look for the answers we seek as well as enhance our plight on Earth. As astronaut Doug Wheelock once told me regarding why we go to explore space, and I paraphrase: It’s not the destination; it’s the journey in between where we will learn about ourselves, develop new technologies and enhance our lives on Earth with our exciting discoveries.

6 comments on “A Planet Analog Exclusive look at the NASA Orion team

  1. ScribCore
    September 27, 2015

    I notice that your article includes space exploration as a means to determine the origin of mankind. While I'm in favor of making exciting discoveries in the physcial sciences, I don't think we need to go to Mars to answer the question of origin.

     

  2. nonford150
    September 28, 2015

    Great you were able to experience this! Thinking about Apollo, Shuttle, and ISS, the living space conditions are more suited for mission timeframes. Spending 9 months in a small space is certainly not for the claustrophobic. Is the sleeping position the same as the takeoff position?

  3. Steve Taranovich
    September 28, 2015

    @nonford150—Sleeping position will be simular to the Space Station. Orion's seats will be removed after leaving Earth's atmosphere making room to move around in Zero-G. There will likely be hammock-type beds with velcro straps to keep sleeping astronauts in place.

    Space has no “up” or “down,” but it does have microgravity. As a result, astronauts are weightless and can sleep in any orientation. However, they have to attach themselves so they don't float around and bump into something. Space station crews usually sleep in sleeping bags located in small crew cabins. Each crew cabin is just big enough for one person.

  4. etnapowers
    September 29, 2015

    “As astronaut Doug Wheelock once told me regarding why we go to explore space, and I paraphrase: It's not the destination; it's the journey in between where we will learn about ourselves, develop new technologies and enhance our lives on Earth with our exciting discoveries”

     

    Steve, thank you for this interesting blog, I fully agree with this vision of space exploration, and i think that it is the real added value of this activity. I think it applies to many aspects of engineering: many times when an engineer develops a new technology for a final customer, he discovers many important aspects to achieve a real unexpected innovation. As an example let's think to MEMS: in a initial phase these systems were only simple sensors, later the IOT technology started from the smart sensors, to achieve smart complex systems based on MEMS.

     

     

     

     

  5. MClayton
    October 8, 2015

    Fully support robotic missions to anyplace in universe, including robotic mining of near asteroids for platinum as planned by private folks over next few years.

    But humans are NOT NECESSARY for space exploration, and very costly to protect in my opinion.  But then, I am an engineer not a scientist.   Look at CERN costs per great discovery and that's on earth.  Cost matters.  If private companies want to do this, fine, its there money…hopefully.  

  6. Lenny1985
    December 7, 2016

    I agree with the idea of using robots to explore space and I agree with MClayton belief that humans are unnecessary to space exploration and to accommodate their frail bodies adds needles expense to the mission to Mars. LJB

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