Hasty Ruminations

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Friday, September 01, 2006

Lockheed To Build Another Orion


NASA has awarded a contract to Lockheed-Martin
to build the new space ship for the space station and to the moon, the Orion.

There is some historical precedent... in a way.

Lockheed built the four engine turbo prop commercial airliner, the Electra, in the 1950's and 60's. It didn't do well, with several crashes due to the wings breaking off at the fuselage. (Aviators call this a "no-no".) The Navy bought all of the Electras because it needed to replace the aging P-2 Neptune maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare (ASW) prop plane on an urgent basis. The Navy gave a contract to Lockheed to modify all of the planes, replacing their long thin wings with short, stubby ones.

The wings were the solution to stopping the crashes. The P-3 Orion has been flying ASW for the U.S. and many allies since 1962. I saw my first P-3 in 1966 when I was a Midshipman on a summer cruise out of San Diego. It buzzed our ship which was flying a drone anti-submarine helicopter (DASH), an early unmanned torpedo dropper.

My son is a Lieutenant Commander in the Navy now, and plane commander of P-3's.

Proud? Yeah, you could say so!

So, the space ship is in good hands: Lockheed KNOWS Orions!


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