Meet Orion, NASA's next-gen spacecraft


#1

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#2

I admit I hoped for the other Orion.


#3

Yeah, me too. I thought we were really breaking new ground. Then I see that it is Apollo rebooted. Oh well, at least we did something rather than sitting around picking our butts.


#4

I was hoping it was some news about this (like scaling it up, increasing output etc.)
But I knew it was about the Orion crew capsule. Still, it seats 6 and has a plethora of cup holders.


#5

Yeah, and what’s with the part about the radiation from the van Allen belt. Thought we been there done that.


#6

New ground requires funding. You clearly haven’t been paying attention to the funding environment in Washington DC the past six years. To be fair to Orion though, capsules are pretty much the only way to go beyond low earth orbit in the meantime. Everyone always gives them a bad rep and calls them 1960’s technology but so far we haven’t engineered a better way to get beyond low earth orbit and back.

Space planes are especially terrible. Even if you got your space plane beyond low earth orbit, getting back isn’t possible. Short of it is, you need to bleed off speed or you burn up like a marshmallow.


#7

We haven’t done it since 1972 with any spacecraft that will be manned. So it makes sense to test these things. Especially when we have computers and technology that didn’t exist in 1972. Which will help give us a better understanding. The thing about engineering is that you can’t just pause and pick up where you left off some 42 years later. A lot has to be relearned.


#8

Ugh, not that pseudoscience engine.

https://richarddawkins.net/2014/08/did-nasa-validate-an-impossible-space-drive-in-a-word-no/


#9

but! but! but! I want to believe!
Rats, I was all packed for Mars… well, Hobbes will be glad to get out of that stuffy old suitcase.

OK, I’ll just use my time machine to tunnel back and edit my parenthetical…
32 minute ago me just typed (like news that it actually works?)
what? wait? it didn’t take?
dangit!
that shady fella sold me a bum time machine!
there goes my plan to kill Hitler


#10

It’s funny when he says “It’s computers can handle over 480 million instructions per second” is that impressive? I am pretty sure my iPhone does better than that.


#11

That’s what popped into my head when I read the headline…
Sometimes I’m surprised about what lurks in the dusty corners of my noggin.


#12

Depends what you mean by “better”. iPhones do not work in space, so anything which does is pretty much “better” by default.


#13

Saw Space Video and Then Was Like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xeKMS62GrTI


#14

You want to buy an Orion? I’m telling you, you do. You do a lot of risky runs? You look the type. Let me tell you something… the Orion may not be fast, but she’s a regular tank. She has the thickest armour and best shields of any ship on the open market. Sure, the cargo space is limited, but she’ll keep you and your cargo safe, get it? This ship has something for everybody. Merchants have cargo protection… and mercs can fly her with confidence that they’ll come back in one piece. The Orion has racks for 2 guns, a weapon or tractor beam, and a rear turret. A great buy at only 75000 credits. Of course, you’d get a trade in for your ship, and for the extras… leaving you with a few credits for new accessories. So… you want one, or what?


#15

Why the L-for-A font choice?

It does look like it updates a lot of Apollo-era solutions, such as the balloons after the water landing.


#16

Of course it’s not impressive by terrestrial standards, and I did chuckle at that (MIPS is only really understood by people who would chuckle at the number, everyone else, “480 million something or others? Sounds like a lot of something or others!”). But as popobawa4u noted, your iPhone has a nice blanket of atmosphere carefully protecting it from radiation. 480 MIPS is pretty impressive for radiation hardened chips.


#17

I think the main problem with icrap not working in space is more about cooling. Radiation will just make it less reliable and crash frequently, and fail earlier. Especially in the Van Allen belts.

Rad-hard chips lag behind the non-hardened ones a lot. It’s interesting that a minor manufacturing process change can greatly influence the hardness of the chip. This can bite you when the vendor changes a mask or otherwise optimizes the process without letting you know; hello, early failures.

CubeSats are usually built from non-hardened off-the-shelf parts, and usually their career is ended by orbit degradation instead of radiation-related failure.


#18

So they’re essentially claiming it runs on the Casimir effect? I’m pretty sure trying to do work with zero point energy is still either impossible or would be we’re in a false vacuum (the disturbing of which would be a really bad idea).

Ditto. I know NASA has terrible institutional memory, but some project names really shouldn’t be recycled.

I can’t find the article, but I remember reading a case where the US needed to do some maintenance on its nuclear arsenal, only the process for making the part that needed replacing was never written down (too secret), and they had to call some very old engineers out of retirement to recreate it from memory. Even in less classified situations - anyone who has ever tried to recreate an experiment from a paper knows that all the important bits never get written down - some can only be learned from other humans.


#19

Wasn’t it, by chance, that interstage foam?

Often even when it is your own notes (or your own code). Few years and the details are gone from memory. Don’t ask how I know…


#20

I don’t want to smash the Kessel Run, I just want to get there in one piece.