ATK/NASA Constellation Program Commemorative Medallion w/ Stand
Contains metal flown on Ares 1-X and Orion PA-1 | Released by ATK Aerospace Systems | 2012 |
This amazingly cool and never before available piece of space history is now available only to our SPACE.com fans! This collectable piece was created to commemorate the start of the NASA Constellation program in 2005. This piece is stamped with the authentic NASA Constellation program emblem, as well as the program slogan 'Moon, Mars, and Beyond.' These are gauranteed to become an even rarer collectable as time goes on, as they define and commemorate a memorable and turbulent time in NASA history, as the space shuttle program came to a close, and the future of the space program was about to be dramatically changed.
Due to a special relationship between ATK Aerospace, the developers and manufacturers of the NASA Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Boosters for over 40 years, and SPACE.com, we have secured a limited number of these never before available, and very rare collectable pieces.
We are offering them initially only to our most valued SPACE.com fans and customers, for a special price, and for a limited time. These will never be available again, and there are only a limited number. Available only while quantities last, and ONLY ON SPACE.COM STORE.
Get this rare and very cool piece of history before its gone!
-WHAT: ATK/NASA Constellation Program Commemorative Medallion – Contains metal flown on Ares 1-X and Orion PA-1
-WHO: ATK Aerospace Systems, Lockheed Martin, NASA
-WHERE: Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex
-VALUE (est.): Unknown
-CURRENT PRICE: $29.99
Legacies of Apollo and Space Shuttle - Apollo program and Space Shuttle program
NASA would have used the vehicles of the Constellation Program to replace the Space Shuttle. But unlike the X-33 and other programs meant to replace the Shuttle, Constellation reused concepts already learned from the Apollo and Space Shuttle programs.
For instance, the shape of the Orion command ship closely resembled the aerodynamic shape of the Apollo Command/Service Module. However, in other respects – such as with the cockpit displays and heatshield – Orion employs new technology. The design of the launch vehicle taking Orion into orbit, the Ares I, was closely based on Apollo designs. It was based on a J-2X engine, a redesigned version of the J-2 engine used in the Saturn family of boosters.
In working on the J-2X, NASA engineers visited museums, searched for Apollo-era documentation and consulted with engineers who worked on the Apollo program. "The mechanics of landing on the moon and getting off the moon to a large extent have been solved," said Constellation program manager Jeff Hanley. "That is the legacy that Apollo gave us."
Like Apollo, Constellation would have flown a lunar orbit rendezvous mission profile, but unlike Apollo, Constellation would have also employed an Earth orbit rendezvous. The lander, known as Altair, would have been launched separately on the Ares V rocket, a rocket based on both Space Shuttle and Apollo technologies. Orion would have been launched separately and would have linked up with Altair in low earth orbit. Also unlike Apollo, Orion would have remained unmanned in lunar orbit while the entire crew landed on the lunar surface (specifically at the lunar polar regions, unlike the equatorial regions explored by Apollo). At the end of the mission, the Altair spacecraft would have launched into lunar orbit to link up with the Orion spacecraft in lunar orbit rendezvous.
Ares boosters - Comparison of maximum payload to low Earth orbit.
1. Space Shuttle payload includes crew and cargo. 2. Ares I payload includes only crew and inherent craft. 3. Saturn V payload includes crew, inherent craft and cargo. 4. Ares V payload includes only cargo and inherent craft.
Unlike the Saturn V and Space Shuttle, where the crew and cargo were launched together on the same rocket, NASA planned to use two separate launch vehicles for the Constellation Program – the Ares I for crew and the Ares V for cargo. This would have allowed the two launch vehicles to be optimized for their respective missions, especially for a much heavier cargo load per mission. The Constellation Program thus combined the Lunar Orbit Rendezvous method which was used by Apollo with the Earth Orbit Rendezvous method.
The Orion spacecraft would have been launched into a low Earth orbit using the Ares I rocket (the "Stick"), developed by Alliant Techsystems, Rocketdyne, and Boeing. Formerly referred to as the Crew Launch Vehicle (CLV), the Ares I consisted of a single Solid Rocket Booster (SRB) derived from the boosters used in the Space Shuttle system, connected at its upper end by an interstage support assembly to a new liquid-fueled second stage powered by an uprated Apollo-era J-2X rocket engine. NASA selected the Ares designs for their anticipated overall safety, reliability and cost-efficiency.
The launch of Ares I prototype, Ares I-X on October 28, 2009. NASA began developing the Ares I low Earth orbit launch vehicle (analogous to Apollo's Saturn IB), returning to a development philosophy used for the original Saturn I, test-launching one stage at a time, which George Mueller abandoned in favor of "all-up" testing for the Saturn V. As of May 2010, the program got as far as launching the first Ares I-X first-stage flight on October 28, 2009 and testing the Orion launch abort system.
Ares V would have had a maximum payload capacity of about 188 metric tons (414,000 lb) to low earth orbit (LEO), compared to the Space Shuttle's capacity of 24.4 metric tons, and the Saturn V's 118 metric tons. The Ares V would have carried about 71 metric tons (157,000 lb) to the Moon.
The Ares V design incorporated six RS-68 engines with assistance from a pair of 5.5-segment SRBs. Five Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSME) were originally planned for the Ares V, but the RS-68 engines are more powerful and less complex and therefore less expensive than the SSMEs. The Ares V would have flown for the first eight minutes of powered flight, then the Earth Departure Stage would have placed itself and the Altair spacecraft into low Earth orbit while awaiting the arrival of the Orion.
List of Constellation missions:
Like that of the Apollo Program, Constellation program will involve its main vehicle, the Orion spacecraft, flying missions in low earth orbit (LEO) with an emphasis of servicing the International Space Station, and in conjunction with the Altair and Earth Departure Stage, on flights to the polar regions of the Moon. As of 2008, there are no well-defined plans for a manned flight to Mars, as flights to the Red Planet will most likely not occur before 2030, but a mission to a Near-Earth asteroid is in the initial planning phase.
International Space Station and low-Earth orbit flights
After being brought together at the Kennedy Space Center from various parts of the country (Utah and Louisiana for the Ares I booster, and various Lockheed Martin facilities in the southern U.S. for the Orion) and completion of major testing, including spacecraft integrity testing in a vacuum chamber, the components of the Orion/Ares I stack would be assembled in the Vehicle Assembly Building in a manner similar to the stacking and assembly of both the Shuttle and the
Saturn IB and Saturn V rockets
Once assembly is completed and a launch date set, the Crawler-Transporter will pick up and transport the completed Orion-Ares I stack, along with the launch support tower and the Mobile Launcher Platform, out to Launch Pad 39B, which is currently undergoing conversion from use in Shuttle missions to be used for Ares I operations. Once the Crawler-Transporter reaches the pad, the Ares I and its platform is left in place and the Crawler-Transporter is taken to a safe, yet reasonable distance in order to facilitate pickup of the platform for an equipment rollback to the VAB.
After final checks, the ground crew will fill up the second stage with liquid hydrogen (LH2) and liquid oxygen (LOX), with the crew, suited up in new all-purpose spacesuits, entering the spacecraft only three hours before liftoff. Once locked in, and after all systems are cleared by controllers at both the Cape and Mission Control in Houston, the Ares I is then launched, clearing the launch tower and (after a roll program and pitch over), heads out on the proper trajectory.
At T+120 seconds into the flight the solid-fueled first stage is jettisoned for recovery, and the onboard J-2X engine is ignited. 30 seconds later both the launch abort system and the fairings covering the Orion crew and service modules would also be jettisoned. At T+330 seconds after liftoff, the J-2X engine cuts off, and the Orion spacecraft would enter an initial entry orbit, which, 45 minutes later, is circularized by a second burn of the onboard J-2X engine, after which the Orion spacecraft separates (allowing the second stage to burn up in the atmosphere) and extends a pair of paddle-shaped solar panels.
After a two-day chase, the Orion spacecraft would meet with the International Space Station. After getting the go ahead from Houston, Orion would dock with the ISS. The six-man crew, the largest number that can fly on an Orion spacecraft, would then enter the station in order to perform numerous tasks and activities for the duration of their flight, usually lasting six months, but can be shortened to four or lengthened to eight, depending upon NASA's goals for that particular ISS Expedition. Once completed, the crew then reenters the Orion, which has been kept attached to the station as an emergency "lifeboat," seal off the hatches between it and the ISS, and then undock from the station.
Once the Orion reaches a safe distance from the ISS, the spacecraft will turn around so the main engine faces forward and fire its onboard Aerojet AJ-10 engine. After the de-orbit burn has been completed, the service module is then jettisoned, allowing it to burn up in the atmosphere while the crew module re-enters in the same manner as all NASA spacecraft prior to the Shuttle, using the ablative heat shield to both deflect heat from the spacecraft and to slow it down from a speed of 28,000 km/h (17,500 mph or Mach 5) to 480 km/h (300 mph or Mach 0.5). After reentry is completed, the forward assembly is jettisoned, and two drogue parachutes will be released, followed at 20,000 feet (6,100 m) by three main parachutes and airbags filled with nitrogen (N2), which does not combust when exposed to heat, allowing the spacecraft to splashdown. The Orion CM is then returned to Kennedy Space Center for refurbishment for a later flight. Unlike the Apollo CM, which was used only for one flight, an Orion CM can be used up to ten times under normal operating conditions.
Lunar sortie/outpost flights
Lunar sortie and Lunar outpost (NASA)
Unlike the Apollo flights, where both the Apollo Command/Service Module and the Apollo Lunar Module were launched together on the Saturn V rocket, the manned Orion craft would be launched separately from the unmanned EDS and lunar lander. The Ares V/EDS/Altair stack would be assembled at the Vehicle Assembly Building and then transported to Pad A of Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39. Approximately a day later, the Ares I/Orion stack would be transported to the adjacent Pad 39B. The Ares V/EDS/Altair vehicle would be launched first, into a 360 kilometers (220 mi) high circular orbit. Approximately 90 minutes later, the Ares I/Orion would launch with the crew into a nearly identical orbit.
The Orion would then rendezvous and dock with the Altair/EDS combination already in low-Earth orbit. After the necessary preparations for lunar flight, the EDS would fire for 390 seconds to make the translunar injection (TLI) maneuver, accelerating the spacecraft to 40,200 kilometers per hour (25,000 mph). Unlike Apollo, the Constellation TLI burn would be done in an "eyeballs-out" fashion (with the astronauts facing the EDS and thus being pulled from their seats by the acceleration). After the TLI burn, the EDS would be jettisoned and sent either into an orbit around the Sun or to crash into the lunar surface.
During the three-day trans-lunar coast, the four-man crew monitor the Orion's systems, inspect their Altair spacecraft and its support equipment, and correct their flight path as necessary to allow the Altair to land at a near-polar landing site suitable for a future lunar base. Approaching the lunar far side, the Orion/Altair combination orients the Altair's engines forward and make the lunar orbit insertion (LOI) burn.
Once in lunar orbit, the crew refines the trajectory and configures the Orion CSM for unmanned flight, allowing all four crew members to transfer to the Altair and land on the Moon, while the Orion waits for its return. Upon receiving clearance from Mission Control, the Altair undocks from the Orion and performs an inspection maneuver, allowing ground controllers to inspect the spacecraft via live TV mounted on Orion for any visible problems that would prevent landing (on Apollo this was done by the Command Module Pilot). After receiving approval from ground controllers, the two craft separate to a safe distance and the Altair's descent engines fire again for powered descent to a pre-determined landing spot previously scouted out by unmanned spacecraft.
Upon landing, the crew dons their extravehicular activity (EVA) spacesuits and commence the first of five to seven lunar EVAs, collecting samples and deploying experiments. After completing their Lunar Sortie operations, the crew enters the Altair and fires the ascent stage engine to lift off from the surface, using the descent stage as a launchpad (and as a platform for future base construction). Upon entering orbit, the Altair rendezvous and docks with the waiting Orion spacecraft, and the crew then transfers, along with samples collected on the moon, back to the Orion. After jettisoning the Altair and sending it to crash into the lunar far side, the crew performs the Trans Earth Injection (TEI) burn for the return trip to Earth.
After a two-and-a-half day coast, the crew jettisons the Service Module (allowing it to burn up in the atmosphere) and the CM reenters the Earth's atmosphere using a special reentry trajectory designed to slow the vehicle from its speed of 40,200 kilometers per hour (25,000 mph) to 480 kilometers per hour (300 mph) and allow a Pacific Ocean splashdown. The Crew Module is then flown back to KSC for refurbishment, while lunar samples are routed to the Johnson Space Center's (JSC) Lunar Receiving Laboratory for analysis.
Orion asteroid mission
The Orion Asteroid Mission is a proposed NASA mission to a near-Earth asteroid (NEA) which would use the standard Orion spacecraft, and a landing module based on Altair. Such a mission could assess the potential value of water, iron, nickel, platinum and other resources on the asteroid; test possible ways to extract them; and possibly examine or develop techniques which could be used to protect the Earth from asteroid impacts. This would be the first manned mission beyond both the Earth and the Moon, and would represent a step toward a manned mission to Mars, envisioned for after 2030.
The mission would start in a similar fashion to a Constellation lunar landing mission, with an Ares V launching the landing module into Low Earth orbit, followed by the launch of an Orion spacecraft, with a two or three person crew (as opposed to a four person crew for lunar missions) on an Ares I rocket. Once the Orion spacecraft docks with the landing module and the Earth Departure Stage (EDS), the EDS would then fire again and propel the Orion spacecraft to a nearby near-Earth asteroid where the crew would then land and explore its surface.
Once their task is completed, the Orion spacecraft will then depart from the asteroid and, upon reaching the vicinity of Earth, would jettison both the service module and the landing module in a manner similar to that of Apollo 13 (i.e. separating the service module before the landing module) before entering the atmosphere for a Pacific Ocean splashdown.
Orion Mars mission
The Orion Mars mission plan for NASA's Constellation program is a manned mission with the intent to land humans on Mars in the 2030s. Originally the ultimate goal of NASA's Apollo Applications Program (AAP) in the 1960s, the Orion Mars Mission would utilize the hardware, primarily the Orion spacecraft (or a variation based on the Orion), and the Ares V cargo-launch vehicle, along with methods of carrying out the mission, which would be developed on board the International Space Station and the planned Lunar Outpost which is to be set up on the surface of the Moon after 2020.
Although no specific mission has yet been defined, it will most likely follow the Mars Direct concept developed by Robert Zubrin. Zubrin's concept utilizes an "Earth Return Vehicle", which would be sent out to Mars on a low-consumption trajectory which would arrive at Mars during the planet's conjunction period, when the planet is behind the Sun as seen from Earth. Once the Earth Return Vehicle lands it is planned to use an onboard Sabatier reactor in order to create liquid oxygen and methane fuel for the return trip; a second spacecraft, carrying the crew, would follow after. Arriving at Mars, the crew will land near the Earth Return Vehicle and will explore the planet for a period of nearly one Earth year. At the same time the astronaut crew explores the planet, another Earth Return Vehicle is sent to Mars, allowing NASA an "insurance policy" in the event the first Earth Return Vehicle is unable to perform its task.
Once the crew finishes its surface exploration of the planet, they will then enter the first Earth Return Vehicle and then lift off from the planet's surface. After docking with an orbiting return rocket, the crew then fires the rocket and returns to Earth, making a high-speed reentry in order to land approximately four months after leaving Mars.
Originally envisioned, along with the Apollo Lunar Base, the Voyager Mars Program, and the Manned Venus Flyby, the AAP "Man-on-Mars" program was canceled, along with the rest of the AAP program, and replaced by the Skylab "dry workshop" space station and the Space Shuttle. The Orion Mars Mission, if eventually launched, would occur in the 2030s. Had the AAP Mars mission not been canceled, the first manned landing on Mars was scheduled to have occurred around 1985.
Wikipedia Article Link-