Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Future of Space Exploration

Click the arrow to watch the KNBC video. You may be subjected to an ad first.

KNBC Channel 4 in Los Angeles aired on its 11 PM news last night a three-minute segment titled, “Orion: The Future of Space Exploration.”

This must have confounded the casual viewer who's been told by much of the mainstream media and certain partisan political interests over the last three years that the space program has ended.

The piece made clear that the first unmanned test flight for Orion is scheduled for less than two years from now, but the reporter couldn't help but fall back into the trap of calling the program “Great news for Southern California's aerospace industry, because Orion means jobs.” Once again, someone tries to justify human spaceflight not on the benefits for humanity, but as workfare.

Back here at Kennedy Space Center, Space News reports that cracks have been found in three ribs of the Orion scheduled for an unmanned test flight in 2014.

The cracks were discovered during a proof pressure test the week of Nov. 5. Proof testing, in which a pressure vessel is subject to stresses greater than those it is expected to encounter during routine use, is one of the many preflight tests NASA is performing on Orion to certify the craft is safe for astronauts, agency spokeswoman Rachel Kraft said.

“The cracks are in three adjacent, radial ribs of this integrally machined, aluminum bulkhead,” Kraft wrote in an email. “This hardware will be repaired and will not need to be remanufactured.”

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