Lockheed plans test flight of Orion capsule


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The space war continues. Lockheed is now planning a test flight of Orion capsule in 2013. The flight would occur, not on an Ares rocket, but on a Delta IV Heavy. More here.

Specifics of the proposed test flight haven’t been reported before. But those plans may run into flak as Republican lawmakers take control of House committees and subcommittees that oversee NASA, according to industry officials, including competitors, critical of Lockheed Martin’s efforts.

At least some of the incoming Republican panel chairmen and other senior GOP lawmakers, these officials said, may view the proposed test flight as circumventing congressional language to quickly develop a new heavy-lift NASA rocket able to transport astronauts past low-earth orbit. Congress has adopted language strongly favoring space-shuttle derived rockets for this purpose, rather than a version of the Delta IV. The Delta IV is operated by a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Boeing Co.

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