"This is all doable in the next 10 to 12 years," said Tony Antonelli, a former NASA space shuttle pilot who heads advanced civil space programs for Lockheed Martin, lead contractor for the Orion spacecraft being assembled at Kennedy Space Center.
This is a mission for citizens of Earth, and there’s a role for everyone to play." Addressing more than 300 guests at the National Space Club Florida Committee's meeting on Tuesday, held at the KSC Visitor Complex, Antonelli outlined Lockheed's concept for a "Mars base camp." The symmetrical spacecraft would feature Orion capsules on either end of habitat and laboratory modules, enabling six astronauts to depart as soon as 2028 on a roughly three-year, round-trip science mission orbiting Mars.
(Photo: Tim Shortt/FLORIDA TODAY) On the budget front, the concept assumes NASA ends International Space Station operations in 2024 and redirects several billion dollars a year toward exploration systems.
Buzz60 NASA is studying the risks and costs of accelerating a test flight with a two-person crew around the moon to the 2019 timeframe.
As of now, the first Orion launching on the SLS, on an unmanned trip around the moon targeted for late 2018, won't have completed life support systems.