Washington – Congressman Ken Calvert offered congratulations to the employees of Lockheed Martin today for developing the winning proposal for NASA’s new spacecraft, the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle to be launched on the Ares launch vehicle. The Orion will replace the Space Shuttle which is to be retired in 2010.

“My hat is off to Lockheed Martin for developing the winning design. Both the Northrop Grumman/Boeing and Lockheed Martin teams did a fantastic job and I am confident technology from each will play a role in the final Constellation Launch System. The Orion selection shows that NASA is serious about implementing the Vision for Space Exploration and sending humans to the Moon, Mars and beyond,” said Calvert, who serves as the Chairman of the Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee in the House of Representatives.

“Today’s decision comes just two weeks after NASA committed to relying on the entrepreneurial space sector to deliver supplies to the International Space Station (ISS). The Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) will give Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) and Rocketplane Kistler the chance to prove that private companies can take over some of the more routine aspects of space flight and free up NASA resources for bold exploration missions.”

“Congress recognizes new innovations like the Orion Project need a long-term financial commitment. We now must commit to fully funding NASA at the level specified in the two year authorization passed last year. The current appropriations bill falls about $1 billion short of that goal. I am hopeful that NASA funding will be restored to the level I included in our NASA authorization last year, $17.9 billion.”