Lockheed wins Orion hunt

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NASA names Lockheed Martin as the prime contractor for its Orion crew exploration vehicle, the craft scheduled to return Americans to the moon by 2020. About $8 billion of your money will go to the Bethesda, MD-based aircraft giant. Hard-luck story Boeing, rumored to have been on the shortlist, walks away with bupkes once again.

Here are some views of Orion's projected Apollo-style design. Very long-lived moon-men may recognize the vehicle when it arrives, provided they don't have lunar alzheimer's—at this rate, it will be about 50 years between moon landings. Which should actually work out pretty well: As the blockbuster John F. Kennedy-James Webb transcripts made absolutely, inarguably clear, the only purpose in landing men on the moon was to prove we could beat the Russians. We're now on a pace to prove (just barely) that we can beat the Chinese in the exact same race. As Wooderson says: I get older, they stay the same age.

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  1. Never mind the Russians. They’d better worry about beating the Rhutans.

  2. Pork to the moon!

  3. Pork to the moon!

  4. Well, its a bridge to nowhere.
    OTOH, I cant help but think its a better use of extorted $ than improving cluster bomb dispersal, or….how many new nuke attack subs are being contemplated?
    This notion of space exploration isnt anathema to me, any more that suboceanic exploration.
    Or do you think Jefferson was a nitwit statist for supporting the Corps of Discovery.? (false dichotomy, but you get my drift)
    There well may be advantages to all of us (as in: all of us) in space exploration…I think we got cluster bomb dispersal pretty well figured.

  5. I’m going to spazz when I see the cost overrun figures for MOTHER BOX (1).

    Kevin

  6. Wouldn’t it be more interesting to have a Space Race between all of China on the one hand, and US private industry and volunteers on the other? Maybe game the system a bit with federal/state incentive money, but let NASA rest on its laurels (and stay out of the way).

    On the other hand, who’s gonna coordinate things in the US then? I love the L-5 society and all, but really…

  7. i am suprised that there is little critisism about how little due diligence was done for this contract…where are the priminary designs from all competetors for the contract?

    like this:

    http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/space/08/31/space.orion.reut/index.html?section=cnn_latest

    But critics and government advisors have raised questions, particularly over the multibillion award to build spaceships before technical and financial risks are fully understood.

    In a U.S. Government Accountability Office report released last month, investigators suggested NASA limit the Orion contract to “activities needed to successfully complete the preliminary design review.”

    “NASA should lessen the government’s obligation to the project at such an early stage when realistic cost estimates have yet to be established and requirements are not fully defined,” GAO official Allen Li said to the heads of a congressional oversight committee.

  8. …the priminary designs….?

    Kim Jong Il has them, of course. 🙂

    Kevin

  9. I cant help but think its a better use of extorted $ than improving cluster bomb dispersal, or….how many new nuke attack subs are being contemplated?

    I disagree… While I would prefer the government didn’t extort money from anyone… at least self-defense is arguably a legit constitutional function of the U.S. government.

  10. 14 fucking years! The first time, it took less than decade, and we weren’t even sure it could be done at all!! Have we already forgotten everything we learned doing it the first time, such that it will take even longer now, even with the advances in computers, etc.! Unbelievable.

    The only possible reason for scheduling the program to take 14 damn years is that they’re planning on failing. No project that isn’t artificially limited by things like the size of the construction site, the necessity of building in a certain order, and the like should take more than 5, at most 10, years. 14 is admitting that we’re just planning on giving away a check and getting absolutely nothing in return.

  11. If there are any billionaires reading this blog, I’d like to offer to head up your own private space program, headquartered in lovely, income taxless Tampa, Florida. We’ll get some great engineers and build ourselves a moon rocket years before NASA is ready. It’s a good hobby, and you can send Musk, Bigelow, Branson, Allen, and Bezos moon rocks with gold lettering that says, “In Your Face” after we succeed.

    You can reach me courtesy of Hit & Run.

  12. Lockheed Martin. Hmm, that’s the company that Michael Moore “exposed” in ‘Columbine’ as the evil outfit which trucks killer missiles through a Colorado town while innocent children are sleeping. Except I think the missiles turned out to be satellites.

  13. It’s madness. This lockheed orion http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P-3_Orion will need enormous boosters just to get into space. Once it’s there, all its magnetic detection gear and sonobouys will be dead weight. This thing is pure government pork.

  14. ……”I cant help but think its a better use of extorted $ than improving cluster bomb dispersal, or….how many new nuke attack subs are being contemplated?”
    …….”I disagree… While I would prefer the government didn’t extort money from anyone… at least self-defense is arguably a legit constitutional function of the U.S. government.”

    Point taken, Rhino. But I point out they use a mille of the funds expended on actual “defense”….I used ta drive proggies nuts when I was all for nuke icbms. Like most everything else, its a racket. Id rather have them pass along billions in payments on stuff they bury in the ground and NEVER USE- if they did, who would they tax?- then spend it on weapons they or thier quislings & creatures DO use.
    I get zip out of blown up peasants. I get nifty pics out of the space program. But thats just me…..

  15. Pork to the moon! – Aresen

    And what’s wrong with Pigs In Spaaaaaaaaa
    aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
    aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
    aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace??

  16. Don’t worry. I bet all of this will be soon cancelled or scaled down upon a change in administration, much like the Space Station Freedom was. And taking China as a serious competitor in a new space race is absurd. They’re relying upon recycled Soviet designs and are decades behind the US in terms of technology and experience. Until there is a real compelling need to return to the moon, say high-class tourism, I don’t see a point in sending people there. Let some private company do the heavy lifting in terms of developing new interstellar technologies and destinations-like Pan Am did with clipper aviation.

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