2014 Spring Editor: Joaquin Gonzalez
2011 Spring Editor: Kristopher Davis
2010 Fall Editor: Steven Gowans

What is Orion

The Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) is NASA's next generation spacecraft that is being designed by Lockheed Martin. The spacecraft is named after the Orion Constellation, which is one of the most prominent constellations in the night sky. Orion differs from the previous generation of manned spacecraft in that it does not look like a winged vehicle. The Orion spacecraft resembles the Apollo mission spacecraft. The MPCV will consist of the Crew Module, which will house the crew and the Service Module, which includes the spacecraft's propulsion system and crew supplies. The Orion MPCV will then be attached to a rocket that will launch it into space. Orion development began in 2005 as part of the Constellation program, where Orion would fulfill the function of a Crew Exploration Vehicle.

Each Orion spacecraft is projected to carry a crew of four astronauts. The spacecraft was originally designed to be launched by the Ares I launch vehicle. As of 11 October 2010, with the canceling of the Constellation Program, the Ares program has ended. Development of the Orion spacecraft continued because it supports the presidential goals for space exploration. Orion's first test flight will be launched from atop of a Delta IV heavy rocket. Eventually Orion will be launched on top of the Space Launch System, NASA's future heavy lift rocket. This new launch platform will be the most powerful rocket ever built by NASA. This new powerful rocket will enable the Orion spacecraft to go further into space than any previous manned spacecraft. The Orion spacecraft is a key component to future human missions to space.

Plans for Orion Spacecraft

The Orion MPCV is designed to accommodate both low Earth orbit and beyond low Earth orbit missions. Orion's first Exploration Test Flight (EFT-1) is scheduled to occur during December 2014. The EFT-1 test flight will be unmanned and will orbit the Earth twice before making reentry into Earth. This test will validate Orion's flight control systems. Orion's second unmanned Exploration Mission (EM-1) will take Orion on a circumlunar trajectory around the moon. EM-1 is expected to occur in late 2017 and will last approximately 7-days. Orion's first manned Exploration Mission (EM-2) is expected to occur in 2025 and will take a crew to either an asteroid or the moon. Exploration Mission-3 (EM-3) is anticipated to occur in the mid-2030s and may be a mission to Mars. The Orion spacecraft is also expected to conduct missions carrying humans to the International Space Station in 2015.


Orion Summary
Low Earth Orbit and beyond Low Earth Orbit Missions
Crewed mission duration:
21-210 days
Carrier Rocket:
Delta IV (current) Space Launch System (Future)
Total change in velocity:
4,920 ft./s
Gross liftoff weight:
69,181 lbs.
Effective mass to orbit:
50,231 lbs.
Crew Module-Crew and Cargo Transport
Pressurized Volume:
690.6 cu. ft.
Habitable Volume:
316 cu. ft.
Landing Weight:
19,463 lbs.
Gross liftoff weight
21,650 lbs.
Service Module- Propulsion, Electrical Power, Fluids Storage
694 lbs.
Propellant weight
17,433 lbs.
Gross liftoff weight
27,198 lbs.
-March 26, 2009
updated May 6, 2014

Orion Exploration Flight Test Animation

The following link provides an animation of what we can expect from EFT-1:
Visual Simulation of EFT-1
  • Author: Jay Estes
  • Overview: This is a video simulating EFT-1
  • Last Updated: Unknown
  • Date Reviewed: May 5, 2014
  • Reviewed By: Joaquin Gonzalez
  • Accuracy: This site is maintained by NASA and is current.
  • Reliability and Clarity: N/A
  • Ease of Navigation: Very easy.

Student Designed Radiation Experiment Chosen to Soar aboard Orion EFT-1 Test Flight In Dec. 2014

  • http://www.universetoday.com/111518/student-designed-radiation-experiment-chosen-to-soar-aboard-orion-eft-1-test-flight-in-dec-2014/
  • Author: Ken Kramer
  • Overview: Students from the Governors School for Science and Technology in Hampton, VA won NASA's Exploration Design Challenge competition. The goal of the competition was to design shields that would minimize radiation exposure to astronauts on the Orion spacecraft during test mission EFT-1.
  • Last Updated: May 3, 2014
  • Date Reviewed: May 5, 2014
  • Reviewed By: Joaquin Gonzalez
  • Accuracy: Universe Today is a website maintained by astrojournalists and reporters interested in space. Lat year, over 36 million people visited the website.
  • Reliability and Clarity: The article is long but it does provide a detailed explanation on how the students won the competition. It also explains the purpose of the experiment and how they will conduct the experiment
  • Ease of Navigation: Easy to navigate

Orion Monthly Accomplishments

  • Orion Monthly Accomplishments
  • Author: NASA
  • Overview: This link takes you to NASA's webpage the archives the milestones of the Orion Spacecraft's development on a month-to-month basis. It provides the information in a newsletter type format that is brief and concise.
  • Last Updated: March 2014
  • Date Reviewed: May 5, 2014
  • Reviewed By: Joaquin Gonzalez
  • Accuracy: Very accurate, site is maintained by NASA
  • Reliability and Clarity: Easy to read and information is in chronological order.
  • Ease of Navigation: The navigation function can be improved. In addition to the month, it would be helpful if they somehow indicated milestones that are more noteworthy. The way it is formatted you have to click on each month to reveal what information is contained in the update.

NASA Orion Update

  • http://www.spaceanswers.com/space-exploration/nasa-orion-update-the-goal-is-mars-and-the-moons-of-mars-while-the-stated-goals-in-between-are-asteroids/
  • Author: Jonathan O'Callaghan
  • Overview: This link takes you to an interview of NASA's Paul Marshall. Paul Marshall is the assistant manager for strategy integration on the Orion program. In the interview, Paul Marshall provides insight on the Orion program.
  • Last Updated: January 14, 2013
  • Date Reviewed: May 5, 2014
  • Reviewed By: Joaquin Gonzalez
  • Accuracy: Although the article is over a year old it still provides relevant information on the Orion spacecraft
  • Reliability and Clarity: The information is provided in an interview format with a manger of the Orion program, thus the information is reliable.
  • Ease of Navigation: Easy to navigate.

How man will land on Mars


Orion Spacecraft Blue Prints



external image NASA_Logo.gif

Page Last Updated: April 27, 2011
Paged Editor: Amiko Kauderer
Date Read: 5/24/2011
Reviewed By: Joaquin Gonzalez
Review Date: May 5, 2015- Updated hyperlink
NASA is a great source for looking up anything that has to do with space.
NASA has the most updated news and the website stays current. Even if
you click on this link a year or two from now it will still take you to the info
it will just be updated and it will stay current for your convenience. Overall
great source

Lockheed Martin


Date Read: 5/24/2011
Reviewed By: Joaquin Gonzalez
Review Date: May 5, 2015- Updated hyperlink

Lockheed Martin is the designer of the Orion Spacecraft so of course when
it comes down to it he knows what he is talking about. On his website he has
all kinds of information/videos/pictures. He also has videos with future plans
of what he wants orion to be capable of (digitally enhanced of course). Also
A top website for updated news on the Orion Spacecraft topic plenty of
formation here for views open to the public.

Huffpost Tech: Orion Spacecraft Unveiled: Vehicle May Take Humans To Martian Moon

Page Last Updated: May 24, 2011
Page Author: Catharine Smith
Date Read 5/24/2011
Huffpost Tech is a up to date website with many pictures. It is on point with
the Orion Spacecraft news. The thing that it lacks is a lot of information. The
information is up to date but it has more pictures than information. But the
information that they do have is current and easy to read and understand.
It also has many other links on the page directing to sites that have more info
on the things that are related to the Orion spacecraft which is a nice touch.
Website talks about Lockheed and his plans for the spacecraft and all the info
unveilings on the space craft.

GIZMAG: First Orion Spacecraft Begins Testing

Page Last Updated: March 24, 2011
Page Author: Steven Hondrogiannis
Date Read: 4/24/2011
This site is amazing it has all current news on the Orion Spacecraft
to go along with pictures and videos. It also has a comment box for
people to leave their feedabck. It goes into the things that are happening
now with Orion as well as its future plans of bringing humans to mars.
Overall wonderful website with great details on the Orion spacecraft topic.

Space Travel: Orion Spacecraft Takes Shape

Page Last Updated: June 18, 2010
Date Read: 5/24/2011
This site has info on the Orion spacecraft mission. It has the specifics on the ship
and details on the construction on the Orion Spacecraft itself. Only bad thing about
the site is the format it isn't to easy to look at and the sizing of the font makes it a little
hard to look at and stay focused because the text is so large. Other than that the info
on the spacecraft itself is amazing and informative.



external image orion.jpg
date read- Nov 28, 2010


Date Read: 11/29/2009
Reviewed By: Joaquin Gonzalez
Review Date: May 5, 2015- Updated hyperlink
Wikipedia is a great source, because it contains a large sum of
information all in one page. For the most part everything is accurate
and worthy of mention. However, it is difficult to read and comprehend,
many of the terms and language used is for the advanced reader, not
one particularly new to anything astrologically or to engineering.

Popular Mechanics Article

Date Read: 11/29/2009
Author: David Noland
Published in March 2007 issue of Popular Mechanics
This article is wonderfully easy to read and contains some great
illustrations and information about the whole Orion spacecraft and
the future missions. The article shows how NASA was not content
with the current shuttles, and how they had to redesign a better, safer
means of space exploration, and how they went back to the old, but
successful Apollo Module design.

Mission to Mars

Author: Jasmin Melvin
Date Published: March 30, 2009
Date Read: 11/30/2009
This article shows the general anticipation of mankind to land on Mars.
This is the goal of the 21st Century, our next greatest achievement; to visit
another planet. What this article also reveals is that we have not yet developed
the technology, nor do we trust our current technology to endure the trip to Mars.