"When it comes to NASA politics, and space policy in general, it's very parochial", said Forczyk. That may be all that matters to the space agency at the moment, especially with the deadline for a crewed Moon mission rapidly approaching.
"We have learned a lot about how to design and manufacture a better Orion - such as designing for reusability, using augmented reality and additive manufacturing - and we're applying this to this next series of vehicles", says Mike Hawes, Orion program manager for Lockheed Martin Space. Initially, the space agency has ordered three Orion spacecraft for Artemis missions III-V for $2.7 billion.
In any case, NASA needs crew capsules for its Moon program, and Lockheed can build them.
The national Board of the U.S. on Aeronautics and research of space administration (NASA) signed a contract with Lockheed Martin, which won the contract for the construction of the spacecraft Orion, designed for launch to the moon in the framework of Artemis. Called the Orion Production and Operations Contract (OPOC), this deal taps Lockheed for between six and 12 Orion spacecraft through the year 2030. Still, it's a huge amount of money and, as Ars Technica points out, the final costs could far exceed the figures NASA is making public.
Who says that only the United States can explore space efficiently? With NASA's accelerated return to the Moon, Johnson Space Center now is managing more major human spaceflight programs than ever before. In a statement from NASA, Morhand said that they are pleased to have joined hands with ASA for help in Artemis program which aims to land humans back on moon by 2024.
NASA now plans to the uncrewed Artemis I launch in 2020 or 2021. Orion capsules must also be reusable at least once.
Once testing is over, Orion will head to the Kennedy Space Center to get ready for launch. It's part of NASA's broader Moon to Mars exploration approach, in which we will quickly and sustainably explore the Moon and use what we learn there to enable humanity's next giant leap, sending astronauts to Mars.