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NASA to Name Orion Contractor Thursday (Aug 31)

  1. Aug 30, 2006 #1

    Astronuc

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    http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/constellation/orion/orion_contract.html

    Woah! There is going to be tense moments tomorrow afternoon.

    The contract, to be announced at a 4 p.m. EDT (2000 GMT) news conference in Washington, covers the design, development, production and testing of engineering models and up to four operational vehicles.

    Lockheed Martin Corp and a partnership of Northrop Grumman Corp. and Boeing Co are vying for the work, estimated to be worth more than $18 billion over the next decade.

    NASA to name builder of next-generation spaceship
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 30, 2006 #2

    Clausius2

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    The question is:

    what the hell has one to do for working on some of that stuff?.

    Some time ago I watched a documentary of the space shuttle, and some chief engineers talking about how was it originally planned. Oh, man, the team of engineers in charge of this development will do history. Does not sound nice?. Each of them are giving birth to a small piece of a historical vehicle.

    :rolleyes: (dreaming)
     
  4. Aug 31, 2006 #3
    Everyone around here is buzzing, some of the contractors have said that they are either drinking champagne today or a lot of champagne today :biggrin: I think they are unveiling the new Orion logo as well, it's a pretty cool design. I can't wait to find out who the prime is, talk about a major decision impacting thousands of engineers across the country!
     
  5. Aug 31, 2006 #4

    Astronuc

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  6. Aug 31, 2006 #5

    Mech_Engineer

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  7. Aug 31, 2006 #6

    Mech_Engineer

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    Ouch, sorry dude :frown: Is Lockheed to work on all of it, or does some of it get done by you guys, like the F-35?
     
  8. Aug 31, 2006 #7

    Evo

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    So sad, so true...

    "The competition involved the three largest aerospace companies in the United States.

    "It's between tweedledum and tweedledee," said American University public policy professor Howard McCurdy, author of several books about the American space program. "They're both using the same management systems and the same technical systems that got us to the moon the first time."

    "None of these companies know how to cost innovate," McCurdy said. "They're basically aerospace divisions that depend on government contracts. Their whole incentive, based on the international space station, is to drive up costs."

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060831/ap_on_sc/moon_rocket_contract_9
     
  9. Aug 31, 2006 #8
    Hurray! Now, for the first time in history, we will send a piece of metal into low earth orbit. And with humans inside at that! It brings tears to my eyes, so wonderful it is to see important science taking the public arena so dramatically. Real science at that, not the crazy, antiquated kind pursued by grumpy scientists but the new, modern, kind that will take actors into space and televise their antics on MTV and VH1. :cool:
     
  10. Aug 31, 2006 #9

    Evo

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    This is just too timely to pass up.

    NASA Announces Plan To Launch $700 Million Into Space
    May 3, 2006 | Issue 42•18

    CAPE CANAVERAL, FL—Officials at the Kennedy Space Center announced Tuesday that they have set Aug. 6 as the date for launching $700 million from the Denarius IV spacecraft, the largest and most expensive mission to date in NASA's unmanned monetary-ejection program.

    "This is an exciting opportunity to study the effect of a hard-vacuum, zero-gravity environment on $50 and $100 bills," said NASA Administrator Michael Griffin, who noted that prior Project Denarius missions only studied space's effect on fives and singles. "Whether the money is immediately incinerated because of hard radiation, or freezes in the near-absolute-zero temperature and shatters into infinitesimal pieces, or drifts aimlessly through the cosmos before being sucked through a black hole into another dimension, it will provide crucial information for our next series of launches, which will consist of even greater sums of money, in larger denominations."

    http://www.theonion.com/content/node/47977
     
  11. Sep 1, 2006 #10

    Clausius2

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    Hey man, in my modest opinion the Orion business is not science, it is engineering which are things a little bit different. Science is the brain, engineering is the muscle intrepreting the signals of the brain. Engineering bases its achievement on science, as Orion engineers will do. There is also science, real science, for instance in the research of cancer.

    I'm afraid science it is not in the labs of Lockheed and all these companies. Science lies in small laboratories of the universities and government institutions. On the other hand applied engineering lives in the labs of those companies, and survives in this world thanks to those people working on those small labs doing real science.
     
  12. Sep 6, 2006 #11

    Mech_Engineer

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    Actually, that's where "Virgin Galactic" is headed, not NASA.. I can see the "Surreal Life in Space" episodes now :rolleyes:
     
  13. Sep 6, 2006 #12

    I'll sit through all the bad reality TV in the world, if it means I can get a chance to get off this ball of dirt, even just for a short while.
     
  14. Sep 6, 2006 #13

    Mech_Engineer

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    Well, it takes a significant investment to make a new space ship (including infrastructure) slated to take over the Space Shuttle's duties. Perhaps he would prefer it gets left to companies with under 100 employees? Or maybe we should just outsource it to India... I don't see WHY this is a such a problem.

    His wording is purposely condescending, and he is using sweeping generalizations to make it sound as if they will be using the same technologies used in the 60's. If he can do so much better why isn't he doing it? Theory and practice rarely meet in how businesses get run.

    I want to hear feasible suggestions that rival the currently proposed option. Lockheed proposed a much more radical idea, and it was turned down in favor of a much simpler and less sexy capsule design simply because PR battles hold so much sway nowadays for NASA and all other government agencies. The fear of accidents is what's pushing the space program in the direction its going, NOT the company driving prices up. In today's society, it is more acceptable to spend 1 billion making something 5% safer, than save 10 billion and in the process make it 5% less safe. It's the feeling that you can't put a price on human life, no matter what.

    The culture of fear has crippled our technological industry, especially in space exploration, not greedy contractors.
     
  15. Sep 6, 2006 #14
    How so?

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  16. Sep 7, 2006 #15

    Mech_Engineer

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    It's my opinion that space exploration is by its very nature dangerous and expensive.

    That being said, I DO feel that we need to make sure Astronauts are as safe as possible, the fact is that not every single possibility can be prepared for or anticipated (NASA's doing an incredible job of it as it is). However, the destruction of Space Shuttle Columbia, along with other heavily publicized failures, have put NASA in a tough position.

    NASA fears that one single additional accident will cripple their funding for years to come as people "outcry" over their unsafe practices. As it is, we live in a society that is at best unimpressed by space exploration, and at worst against it because they feel the money would be better spent elsewhere. Because of this, innovation in space flight must take a large turn towards the conservative to assure goals (albeit not particularly lofty ones) are consistently met with few set-backs.

    People need to understand that ALL risks cannot be removed from any situation, only minimized. Along with that, they need to realize that there are higher risks being taken in our society (most motorsports, for example) that get zero publicity.

    Anyway, that's my two cents.
     
  17. Sep 7, 2006 #16

    Evo

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    My ex husband was in finance with GE Aerospace when Martin Marietta purchased the unit back in 1993. I am very well aware of the price gouging by these contractors on government contracts. I think that article was a fairly accurate depiction of the industry.

    I also remember a funny story he told me about a "clean room" where they were assembling a satellite and there was a bird flying around inside the room pooping on it.
     
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