Click the arrow to watch the report. You may be subjected to an ad first. Video source: Associated Press YouTube channel.
With the first test flight of an uncrewed Orion capsule scheduled for December, NASA has begun a media blitz to let the public (and Congress) know they're still in business.
NASA held a media event June 18 in Kennedy Space Center's Operations & Checkout Building to preview Orion's flight. Present were NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and KSC director Robert Cabana.
Video of the event is below. The astronauts-turned-executives took several questions from the reporters.
One reporter asked if Orion was considered a backup plan for International Space Station access if the commercial crew program if the vendor candidates. Bolden emphatically said no, a bit of a surprise because for years several members of Congress have justified Space Launch System and the Orion capsule as a backup program for ISS access. The fig leaf has fallen.
Bolden also said it was possible that the first crewed Orion flight could occur in 2019, something he's mentioned informally in past Congressional hearings, but he told Congress they would have to fund it. So far, Congress has shown no inclination to accelerate the SLS timeline.
On their web site, NASA posted an article about what will be learned from the Exploration Flight Test (EFT)-1 in December.
Click the arrow to watch the media event. Video source: NASAKennedy YouTube channel.