Orion spacecraft (Credit: NASA)
There has been some push back to the proposal by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine to launch an uncrewed Orion spacecraft on a flight test around the moon next year using a pair of commercial boosters instead of the Space Launch System (SLS).
“While I agree that the delay in the SLS launch schedule is unacceptable, I firmly believe that SLS should launch the Orion,” said Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) in a statement to SpaceNews.
The Coalition for Deep Space Exploration issued a statement opposing the change.
This morning at a hearing of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, NASA Administrator Bridenstine mentioned that NASA is investigating an alternate approach to flying an Orion crew vehicle and European Service Module (SM) to the Moon by June of 2020. This approach would continue the development of the Space Launch System (SLS), enabling a full testing regime for this critical national asset, and bring SLS and Orion together for the following mission.
No launch vehicle other than the SLS can enable the launch of a fully-outfitted Orion, including the SM, to the Moon. As a result, the Administrator noted that this approach would require at least two ...