NASA needs billions to get Lockheed Martin’s Orion into space

Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar to the right. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.

And NASA thinks it can compete with SpaceX or Orbital Sciences? The agency is asking for billions more to build the Orion capsule.



  • Kelly Starks

    > And NASA thinks it can compete with SpaceX or Orbital Sciences? ===

    Certainly, after all – they judge the winners, and pork (and NASA inefficiency) are primary products to be maintained. If they were willing to just let L/M and the other contractors do their jobs, costs would go down by at least a factor of 4.

    As Rutan found when he and some other new space companies tried bidding to build Orion, they weer simply incapable of spending enough, and hiring big enough staffs. Designing and building it was well within their abilities, but they could not do all the federally required contractual overhead, and support all the NASA “oversight”. So they had to bow out.

    Even Musk said SpaceX has little hope of competing and wining more then at best a token commercial crew flight.

  • Congress is demanding that NASA “refine its procurement, contract management, and oversight processes”. This sounds like the perfect opportunity to scrap the way Orion is being developed, define real requirements for an “exploration vehicle” and develop a milestone based fixed price contract, with independent financing requirements.

  • Kelly Starks

    I think you expecting a lot out of “refine”. Also NASA has as of yet – pretty much ignored that.

    Certainly L/M’s offer to develop Orion for a fraction of the cost if NASA just lets them do it themself to NASA specs, rather then NASA management get so heavily involved, hasn’t gotten much support ni NASA or congress as far as I can see.

    As for nidependant financing. Given NASA is pretty much the total market for maned orbital flight. They will have to agree to a contract that one way or the other pays for the development of the craft they demand.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *