So, it looks like The Vehicle Formerly/Formally Known As Orion has a new lease on life. For now.
NASA has reached an important milestone for the next U.S. transportation system that will carry humans into deep space. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden announced today that the system will be based on designs originally planned for the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle. Those plans now will be used to develop a new spacecraft known as the Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV).
Peachy. Have we gone through enough iterations that we can start calling the new vehicle “Fred“?
This isn’t anything new, as this idea in general form has been floating around since shortly after the “cancellation” announcement in February 2010. What’s concerning, however, is the notion that the MPCV would be able to support crews of 4 for 21 days, all on its own. On Orion, that longevity had been been moved to a post-ISS-version block upgrade. If that becomes the baseline for the initial operational capability of the MPCV, it’s back to the drawing boards, at least for ECLSS.