Comparison of the Apollo module to the Orion module?

[This post is under construction…]

How does the Apollo module (design and program) differ from the Orion module?

Apollo – command service module (CSM)

  1. Name of the crew exploration vehicle spacecraft: Apollo Command Module
  2. Purpose: lunar orbit, shuttle missions to Skylab and the Apollo-Soyuz joint mission
  3. Computer systems had to be designed from scratch
  4. Contractor was North American Aviation for the CSM
  5. Seats: three
  6. Launch date: 196x
  7. Budget for development: $3.7 billion (just for CSM development)
  8. Parachute system: original
  9. Landed in water
  10. Heat shields: original to Apollo
  11. Power: heavy (Bacon Alkaline Fuel Cells) fuel cells
  12. Last flight: July 1975 – Apoll-Soyuz mission
  13. 3.9 meters (12.8 feet) in diameter
  14. Weight (command/service module): 66,871 lb

Photo credit: Kraig McNutt, Apollo 16, Huntsville, AL

Image credit: Wikipedia
Image credit: Wikipedia

Some of the data below could change as the development of the Orion vehicle continues.


  1. Name of the crew exploration vehicle spacecraft: Orion
  2. Purpose:  intended for a broad range of space access applications which include low, medium, high orbits as well as lunar exploration
  3. Computer systems – Astrionics to include computers being custom designed
  4. Contractor was Lockheed Martin
  5. Seats: four (for Moon), six for non-lunar missions
  6. Launch date: 2014 for the ISS
  7. Budget for development: estimated at $8 billion
  8. Parachute system: almost identical to Apollo (for sea-based recovery)
  9. Landing: primary intended for land; back-up for sea
  10. Heat shields: ablative but undecided specifically, one option is essentially the same
  11. Power: solar panels
  12. First planned flight: 2014
  13. 5 meters (16.5 feet) in diameter
  14. Mass 22.7 metric tons (25 tons)
  15. Inside, more than two-and-a-half times the volume of an Apollo capsule. Orion has 380 cubic feet of habitable volume.

Quotes from Fast Company article

” . . . sometimes the better part of innovation is not invention, but effectiveness.”

“Does paying attention to Apollo limit our thinking?” Johns asks. “Yes, it does. But I don’t have any lack of young engineers coming up with great new solutions to problems–I get eight or nine of those for every problem. Engineers love to reinvent things. I use that question to make sure the engineers have actually checked to see what [their predecessors’] solution was.” – Bill Johns is a senior manager for Lockheed

“Space is a hard, unforgiving place. It will find the flaws–in thinking, in design, in human nature.”

“Space will be explored and exploited by humans,” Michael Griffin told Congress that year. “The question is, which humans, from where, and what language will they speak? It is my goal that Americans will be always among them.”





Thanks to Scott B. Schneeweis, LCDR/USN for his consultation on this post.



~ by tellinghistory on July 4, 2007.

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