Behind the Wings ®
The Podcast – Episode 10

The Orion spacecraft is set to launch with Artemis I this fall!

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In today’s show, we’re going to go Behind the Wings of a cutting-edge space vehicle – The Orion Spacecraft, and the Artemis Missions – with Lockheed Martin systems engineer and Integration senior manager Kerry Timmons.

Kerry leads a team of engineers at Lockheed Martin, working on Orion’s vehicle requirements – from the advanced electrical systems, to human integration for the Artemis I and II missions. With the Artemis program we’ll be able to explore uncharted parts of the moon, and learn more about what it takes to not only explore the moon, but deep Space.

What an exciting time for human space flight. I remember as a kid the wonder of Apollo – In today’s conversation that excitement is back!

Key Takeaways:

  • Kerry Timmons is a second-generation Lockheed Martin employee. She has been working on the Orion spacecraft since 2008.
  • Orion is the US and NASA’s crewed deep space exploration vehicle, consisting of the crew vehicle, the service module, and the launch abort system.
  • Orion uses the same blunt-body capsule as the Apollo spacecraft, but there are differences in the crew capacity (3 on Apollo, 4 on Orion), and mission length (Apollo 14 days, Orion 21 days).
  • The Orion capsule is reusable, enabling more frequent missions.
  • The Apollo missions were named after the Greek god Apollo, the god of the sun. The Artemis missions are named after Apollo’s twin sister Artemis, the goddess of the moon.
  • Artemis I is an uncrewed mission around the moon planned for launch in 2022. The spacecraft will go deeper than any crewed vehicle has before, based on the trajectory and orbit, to ensure the safety of the vehicle for Artemis II
  • Artemis II will take the crew out for the first time in the Orion Spacecraft to orbit the moon. It is planned for 2024
  • Artemis III will take the first woman and person of color to land on the moon. It is planned for 2025.
  • Artemis IV will be another mission to the moon, possibly incorporating the upcoming Lunar Gateway. It is planned for 2026.
  • NASA wants to build a sustainable lunar environment both on the surface and as orbiting an orbiting platform to grow our knowledge and experience living and working in space
  • Lockheed Martin partnered with Amazon on the Callisto payload to bring the Alexa voice control and Cisco WebX video communication aboard Orion.
  • When the Orion Spacecraft returns to Earth it will bounce off the atmosphere in a maneuver called a skip re-entry. This was conceived during the Apollo program but is only now technologically possible.
  • Kerry Timmons’s hope for the future of space exploration, is for more people to be part of the space industry, a thriving earth-lunar economy, and for more people to be able to experience the wonder of exploration in space.

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