NASA has delayed the first test flight of Orion’s launch abort system by two years to 2017.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

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NASA has delayed the first test flight of Orion’s launch abort system by two years to 2017.

NASA officials have been warning since last year that work on Orion would be slowed to keep pace with the development of SLS and its launch infrastructure. The agency has proposed trimming Orion’s $1.2 billion budget back to $1 billion for 2013. With the high-altitude abort test facing at least a budget-driven delay, the Langley team has proposed conducting one or more less-expensive tests in its place. Ortiz said conducting a hot-fire test in 2015 or 2016 would “keep the [launch abort system] project moving forward and help alleviate risk.”

I predict that Dragon will not only test its launch abort system first, it will have humans flying on it before Orion. And Dragon will do this for a fraction of the total cost that Orion and SLS spend per year. I also predict that when Dragon does this, Congress will finally begin noticing this disparity, and SLS will die unlaunched.


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  • Kelly Starks

    What congress noticed is SpaceX cost more then anyone else ever used to deliver cargo to the ISS, with a bad failure rate. Also that Dragon offers no potential for BEO, or of sustaining any US capacity.

  • Hilarious! But you should include a tag to let everyone know it’s a joke.

  • Patrick

    Is it really that hard for NASA to get a clue and change its procedures to quicken things up a bit?

    Nasa in my opinion is still just an employment agency for more and more government workers.

    More than likely engineers who couldn’t get work outside the government.

  • Joe

    Good idea to leave out the parts about “could be delayed” and “to accommodate the tighter program budgets anticipated”. That kind of context only confuses things.

    I am sure you will do the same if Space X delays any of their milestones due to budget shortfalls (which are already happening in Commercial Crew).

    Note that if Space X makes it’s September 2012 launch date for its first operational cargo delivery to ISS if will be 2 years 10 months behind schedule and there were no budget shortfalls there.

  • Patrick

    I wonder what SpaceX could do with a BILLION dollar budget and the power of the US government behind them?

    I don’t think the total budget of SpaceX for ALL its projects is more than a billion dollars.
    I think Falcon9 cost then less than 500 milliontotal to develop, test, build and launch.

    Nasa is talking about a yearly budget of a 1.2 billion dollars with an estimated final launch date of 2018. Added together that’s over 10 billion to make a launch.

  • Kelly Starks

    >.. I don’t think the total budget of SpaceX for ALL its projects is more than a billion dollars.

    I beleave they got $800 million in development money from NASA alone. Musk put in $100M. NOt sure about the rest – but I’m real sure its well over a billion.

  • Kelly Starks

    I could supply the URL to the goverment report on that — assuming your actually interested.

  • Ken

    I’ve come from 2019.

    SpaceX not only delivers cargo to ISS but also lands it’s rockets on their butts like God intended. They haven’t launched a crewed Dragon yet due to an abort system failure. If all goes well they will launch by the end of 2019. However they are also building a much larger rocket ultimately designed to fly to Mars and back.

    NASA, on the other hand, has completely mismanaged the SLS and Orion which will not be ready for first flight until 2021 and NASA bureaucrats find it impossible to land on the Moon by 2024. Basically they have various parts scattered here and yon.

    The same people in 2012 are making the same excuses in 2019. Apparently blowing through $50 billion is just not enough money and 9 years of development is not enough time. Stop laughing.

    Oh and Donald Trump is President.

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