Space X: Next week, Space X plans on launching the Falcon 9 rocket with the Dragon capsule. This flight has been named COTS 1, COTS standing for NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services. They were the first private company to be awarded a licence by the FAA for re-entry. Launch is scheduled for December 7, with back up launch windows the next two days.
Lockheed Martin, the manufacturer of the Orion spacecraft (the only piece of Constellation that was kept by congress), wants to launch Orion from a Delta IV rocket. The Delta IV is an Air Force rocket used for launching satellites into space. The Delta IV would be modified to meet the safety standards required for carrying people into space.
Apparently there is some contention in Congress about this plan. Some think it is circumventing the authorized plan to build a new heavy launch vehicle. Lockheed Martin think its possible to do a test launch by 2013, and there is talk of a launch to the moon or an asteroid by 2015.