Cozy Interiors for the Next Moon Flight

Interior of Mockup of Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle, Johnson Space Center, Houston

CNET’s Daniel Terdiman takes a tour of the Johnson Space Center and comes back with some photos of equipment and facilities being developed for Constellation, the back-to-the-moon project scheduled to begin launching in 2013. (The Space Shuttle program will be phased out by 2010.)

For those of us interested in the latest in Houston interiors technology, Terdiman includes photos of a mockup of the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle, meant to take the next generation of astronauts to the moon and beyond. Is that a strip of velcro on the wall on the right? Cool!

Doesn’t look so exciting to you? Hey, they’ve got 5 years to work on it!

After the jump: The Orion capsule mockup from the outside, plus the new 12-wheeler parked outside!


Mockup of Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle, Johnson Space Center, Houston

Terdiman seems more interested in NASA’s new set of moonwheels, called Chariot:

This is a prototype of the lunar truck NASA wants to put on the Constellation missions and take out on the moon. This will be a rover unlike any seen before. It will have the ability to range away from its power source for up to eight hours on six sets of wheels, each of which has fully independent movement, making it possible to move around in any direction at any time.

The idea here is that rather than having one rover, there will be several Chariots on the moon. And this would mean that any one of them would not need to come all the way home each day, allowing crews to range farther and father away from the landing site.

Additionally, it is being built to support a pressurized module that can sustain a couple of astronauts for a day or two, all with the goal of being able to perform much more complex experiments than were possible during the Apollo moon missions.

NASA Chariot Lunar Vehicle, Developed for Constellation

Photos: Daniel Terdiman/CNET