NASA’s first test flight of both the Orion capsule and the heavy-lift SLS rocket in 2017 might be delayed because of design problems with the European-built service module.

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I am shocked, shocked! NASA’s first test flight of both the Orion capsule and the heavy-lift SLS rocket in 2017 might be delayed because of design problems with the European-built service module.

Overweight and struggling with design delays, the European-built service module for the Orion crew exploration vehicle may not be ready for a much-anticipated test flight by the end of 2017. The preliminary design review for the Orion spacecraft’s critical engine and power element is now on track for May after a six-month delay to contend with weight issues, according to Thomas Reiter, director of the European Space Agency’s human spaceflight and operations programs.

I am willing to bet that SpaceX will put astronauts in space on Dragonrider before this unmanned SLS flight occurs.



  • I’d somehow missed that SpaceX’s manned Dragon is to be called “Dragonrider”, I like it!

  • Juan in TN

    I am paraphrasing of course from the movie Contact but, the first rule of government contracting, why have just 1 when you can have 0 at twice the price.

  • Kelly Starks

    Dream chasers supposed to start test flights in 2016, so they might be flying people by/in 2017, I expect CST will about then to. They seem to be the farthest ahead on their engineering work and would not want to be late to the party.

    course in the end everything takes longer and costs more.


  • Chris L

    Since 2017 happens after the 2016 election, it’s more than possible that SLS will never fly. The next administration is going to have to male real grown up choices about what to spend money on, and this white elephant doesn’t meet the grade.

  • Edward

    It seems to work out that way all too often.

  • DougSpace

    There’s a video of Gwynn Shotwell saying that she expects a manned Dragon flight in early 2015.

  • Kelly Starks

    That argument is rather specious. Its such a trivial amount of money by the standards of the feds, it just isn’t worth arguing about – especially since there would clearly be a big political fight if you propose ending NASA’s manned space capacity and missions, or even capacity to start such things in the future. Its just not worth the effort.

    Really it becomes a “if not this, what?” question. So there are alternates you could propose, but they would likely cost about as much, so budgets not going to push this decision.

  • Tim M

    Spacex MaY fly their crew capsule Qual unit w their own crew first, by the end if 2015. But most likely they will Officially fly w / crew per NASA in 2016. And so far they are in the lead for milestone completions with Boeing in 2nd and Sierra Nevada in 3rd However I’m not certain why Boeing has more than the others but theirs are much easier to complete.
    When completed, nonetheless, I truelly believe that the Dragon crewed capsule will be THE safest vehicle ever built for space transport. It’s… BADASS!!

  • Kelly Starks

    SpaceX promises big — but their success rates less impressive..once you get past their pr.

    Their the Solyndra of space launch.

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