Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Perlmutter Calls On NASA to Speed Completion of Orion Space Capsule

Russian Space Vehicle Crashes Highlight Need for Prompt Completion of Orion

Lakewood , CO -- In light of recent Russian space vehicle crashes and failures, U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (CO-07) sent a letter to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden urging the agency to commit the resources necessary to ensure timely completion of the Orion Space Capsule. The Orion Space Capsule project employs approximately 4,000 workers here in Colorado who are working with Lockheed Martin in Jefferson County .

In the letter, Perlmutter noted the August 18 failure of the Russian rocket "Breeze M" to place a telecommunications statellite into the proper orbit, and the August 24 crash of the unmanned Russian "Progress 44" Soyuz-U rocket carrying nearly three tons of supplies to the astronauts on the International Space Station.

"The United States is a nation of vision and exploration, and NASA's human space program embodies this American spirit better than any other." stated Perlmutter in the letter. "Two failures in two weeks is unacceptable,...American astronauts should use American rockets and American capsules....the Orion Space Capsule demonstrated exemplary safety and functionality. Additionally investment in this next generation of space travel provides a significant number of jobs to people in Colorado and a positive impact to our nation's fragile economy."

Since retiring the Space Shuttle program, NASA was planning on relying on Russian space technology and vehicles to conduct space operations until the new Orion Multi Purpose Crew Vehicle is complete. Since the two failures, NASA indcated it may bring home astronauts currently working on the ISS, leaving the ISS unmanned for the first time in over a decade.