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Fri, Feb 05, 2010

Lockheed Martin 'Disappointed' By Orion Cancellation

Program Scuttled In FY2011 NASA Budget Proposal

Lockheed Martin says it is "keenly disappointed" by the Administration's budget proposal for NASA that would cancel Project Orion as part of an elimination of NASA's Constellation Program.

In a prepared statement released Wednesday regarding the FY2011 budget request, which cancels the Orion Project as part of NASA's Constellation Program, the company said Orion's maturity is evident in its readiness for a first test flight in a matter of weeks. "In fact," the statement reads, "Orion can be ready for crewed flights to low Earth orbit and other exploration missions as early as 2013, thus narrowing the gap in U.S. human space flight capability when the shuttle is retired later this year."

Orion In Lunar Orbit Artists Concept

"Significant investment has already been made by the nation and private industry in Orion, which is human rated to provide a level of safety unmatched by any previous or currently proposed crewed vehicles," the statement continued. "Nearly 4,000 people at more than 500 commercial companies and hundreds of small business suppliers across the country have worked diligently on the Orion project to support the nation's human space flight efforts. New facilities have been built and others upgraded. Innovative technologies such as a launch abort system, autonomous rendezvous and docking, closed-loop life support systems, state of the art solar power and avionics systems have been incorporated. And the next-generation of engineers, scientists, teachers and students, so critical to America's future, has been inspired. Cancellation of Orion would sacrifice these capabilities and accomplishments."

The President's budget proposal is subject to review and approval by Congress.

FMI: www.lockheedmartin.com

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