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NASA's Orion crew exploration vehicle passes key milestone

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Lockheed Martin Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle

DENVER (BNS): The Orion crew exploration vehicle has successfully completed the Phase 1 Safety Review of NASA’s Human Rating Requirements for space exploration in low Earth orbit and beyond.

Having approved by NASA’s Constellation Safety and Engineering Review Panel (CSERP), the Orion program will now move forward to the Critical Design Review and Phase 2 Safety Review, prime contractor to NASA for the Orion crew exploration vehicle, Lockheed Martin, said in a statement.

System safety requirements address potentially catastrophic failures that could result in loss of crew or loss of mission during launch, ascent to orbit, approach and docking to the International Space Station, re-entry, landing, and recovery operations.

“Completing this significant safety review puts Orion well down the road in satisfying the requirements to minimize the nation’s gap in human space flight,” said Paul Benfield, Lockheed Martin Integrated Reliability & Safety Manager for the Orion Program.

“NASA’s current human rating standards include stringent requirements and thorough procedures developed from the best practices of NASA’s past 50 years of human spaceflight.”

Benfield noted that human rating a vehicle for beyond low Earth orbit (LEO) is particularly challenging given the greater autonomy of such a mission, the extended mission durations, and increased time to return to Earth.

This Phase 1 Safety milestone covers the requirements for Orion missions in LEO as well as sortie missions to the moon. The design enables a six-month on-orbit duration which is vital to assure return capability of the space station crew, as well as support autonomous lunar orbit operations.

The Orion spacecraft is comprised of a crew module for crew and cargo transport; a service module for propulsion, electrical power and fluids storage; a spacecraft adapter for securing it to the launch vehicle, and a launch abort system that will significantly improve crew safety.

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NASA  Orion  
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