“That is enough to start to tell us what we need to do from a heat-shield standpoint, and where we can reduce weight, or where we might have to add weight, depending upon what we learn,” Dumbacher says, adding that the flight test also will help designers decide whether they can take weight out of the capsule structure.
A press conference is scheduled during the Jan. 16 session of the integrated review to announce the formal agreement of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) participation in developing the Orion service module, using propulsion-system hardware from ESA’s Automated Transfer Vehicle.
“We’re somewhere between systems definition review level and PDR level on the maturity of that service module design from ESA,” Dumbacher says. “There are still technical and programmatic issues and questions that have to be worked. We are not going to be able to lay out all the nuts and bolts and all the detailed designs, nor are we going to be able to lay out all the specific impacts to all the suppliers, down to the second, third and fourth tier. We still have work to do on it.”