Orion Takes VASC Spotlight at Researcher Tuesdays
Want-to-be astronauts, NASA Langley retirees, students, families and children gathered around the Pad Abort-1 (PA-1) crew module in the Virginia Air and Space Center (VASC), in Hampton Va. to learn about Orion, NASA’s next generation human spacecraft. PA-1 was the first test of Orion’s Launch Abort System (LAS), an escape system that can be used to pull the crew module away from the launch vehicle in case of an emergency.
"We have a responsibility to engage the public and educate them on the things that we do," said Kevin Rivers, Orion LAS Project Manager. "We have a responsibility to inspire the next generation of researchers."
The event, which is called Researcher Tuesdays, is hosted by the VASC and is being held until the end of August. It provides the opportunity for volunteers from the NASA Langley Orion team to involve the community by sharing their experiences about Orion.
In the VASC, the PA-1 crew module sits right next to the Apollo crew module, NASA’s first space craft that brought astronauts to the Moon for the first time. More than 40 years later, NASA is designing and building something similar to Apollo, except with more advanced and safer technology.
"So, one of the cool things is we have the great Apollo capsule right next to the future, which is the Orion capsule," said Tim Warner, Deputy Project Manager for Project Planning and Control. "You can compare and contrast the two of those pieces."
During Researcher Tuesdays, volunteers received and answered questions about the differences between Orion and Apollo, the future of NASA, the new technologies of the LAS and many other questions.
"[The Virginia Air and Space Center] is an environment where people come in to learn and to learn about what we do," Rivers said. "Being here and supporting that is beneficial to the agency and to the future- because these kids are our future."