NASA chooses Lockheed Martin's Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle design

5/24/2011

U.S. Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet and U.S. Representative Ed Perlmutter have applauded NASA’s decision to accept the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle design for a multi-purpose crew vehicle to be used in deep space.  In choosing the Orion project’s design, developed in partnership with Lockheed Martin Corporation, NASA recognized the vehicle as the best option for exploration beyond low-Earth orbit, thanks in part to the team’s innovative solutions within a reduced budget.  The decision is also consistent with NASA’s plan to transition access to low-Earth orbit to commercial providers.

The lawmakers have fought hard to save the Orion project in the face of proposed cuts over the past couple of years.  They have actively petitioned the President asking specifically for continued support for the Orion program, which currently employs over 1,000 aerospace workers in Colorado, and supports nearly 4,000 total jobs and many small businesses in the state.  As NASA’s deep-space crew transportation vehicle, Orion will play an essential role in the next generation of space exploration and create jobs in the process. 

“As a former chairman of the House Space Subcommittee, I know how important a bold vision from NASA is to our global competitiveness, including inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers.  Today, NASA rightly made Orion and our top-notch aerospace industry a part of that bold vision, which will help Colorado win the global economic race,” Udall said.  “Our state has invested heavily in the Orion program, and it is terrific for Colorado that our investment has paid off in the development of the next generation of deep-space vehicle.”

“This is great news for Colorado. Orion supports thousands of good-paying Colorado jobs and is an engine for innovation and economic growth with ripple effects throughout the state,” Bennet said.  “With the Space Shuttle Endeavor’s final launch, Orion represents the next frontier in human space exploration and has the potential to stir the imagination of a new generation of young scientists while giving our economy a much needed boost.”

“I applaud NASA’s decision to move forward with Orion, the next generation of manned space flight vehicle.  This good news is a testament to the hard work and dedication of Colorado’s aerospace industry and Congressional Delegation who fought to not only save but promote Orion.  This important project continues to meet development milestones while coming in under budget and will help America to continue its technological leadership role in the world,” Perlmutter said.