Bill Gerstenmaier: NASA Aims to Shorten 1st Orion EM-2 Manned Mission to 8 Days

OrionNASA has proposed a new concept that seeks to shorten the duration of first manned mission of the Orion spacecraft to eight days based on the analysis of risks associated with the planned first crewed flight, Space News reported Friday.

Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for human exploration and operations at NASA, said at a Nov. 30 meeting of the NASA Advisory Council in California that the Exploration Mission 2 has been designed “to be appropriate with the risk we’re willing to take” and marks the first time that the space vehicle’s life support platform will be used.

Jeff Foust writes Gerstenmaier said the multi-translunar injection free minimum mission concept for EM-2 aims to send the space vehicle and its Exploration Upper Stage into an elliptical orbit at an apogee of approximately 217,000 miles for a day.

Orion would use its service module engine after its split from the EUS in order to reach the moon and go around it without going into orbit and then leave for Earth through a “free return” trajectory that does not require another engine burn, Gerstenmaier said.

He added that the EM-2 mission, which includes an option for an extended stay of up to 21 days, would help facilitate manned missions in cislunar space on succeeding flights, Foust reports.

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