“I am pleased to announce that Plum Brook will play an essential role in the Orion project," said Congresswoman Kaptur. "This is what we have been hoping for all along-a renewed sense of purpose for Plum Brook and new opportunity for technological expertise here in Northern Ohio. Ohio's rich legacy in space and space exploration is enhanced with this great news from NASA for our region."
Kaptur said the NASA contract is the result of coordinated effort and teamwork by local, state and federal agencies as well as the private sector. Congresswoman Kaptur, who sits on the Defense Subcommittee of Appropriations, said she has met several times with NASA officials and others to promote Plum Brook as a testing site.
“It only makes sense to take advantage of your strengths," Kaptur said. "Plum Brook is a national asset, and we are excited that it is being recognized again by the NASA leadership."
NASA scientists envision the Orion crew capsule as the successor to the space shuttle, with its maiden launch set for no later than 2014 and its flight moon mission no later than 2020. Orion will be capable of carrying both crew and cargo to the International Space Station.
It will be able to rendezvous with a lunar landing module and an Earth departure stage in low-Earth orbit to carry crews to the moon and eventually to Mars-bound vehicles assembled in low-Earth orbit. Orion will be the Earth entry vehicle for lunar and Mars returns. Orion's design will borrow its shape from the capsules of the past, but takes advantage of 21st century technology in computers, electronics, life support, propulsion and heat protection systems.