AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhy these photogenic dumplings are popping up in Los AngelesThe Lockheed Martin team already has announced it will assemble the spacecraft in Florida if it wins the contract. The Florida state government is putting up an incentive package valued at $45.5 million for the winning contractor team. Lockheed Martin also plans to have several hundred workers, mostly engineers, in Houston, to be close to NASA’s Johnson Space Center. The Northrop Grumman-led team will not disclose its assembly site, saying that it would be premature to talk about proposal details. The husband-and-wife legislative team of state Sen. George Runner and Assemblywoman Sharon Runner said a proposed tax cut for work done on the program is being considered for inclusion in a package of tax credits being crafted by the Legislature. If approved, companies could receive a 10 percent tax credit on wages paid and equipment purchased for the program. The Runners, Republicans from Lancaster, said the tax credit could give California a piece of the action even if the major contractors opt to go elsewhere. The Runners point to the case of the joint strike fighter in which major components are built in Palmdale, but the aircraft are assembled elsewhere. “We could get a lot of the subcontractors if we have the tax credit,” George Runner said. “It gives us a shot at the work.” There will be at least some work on the program in the Antelope Valley. The NASA Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base will oversee tests of a system to safely abort a flight if problems develop in launching Orion. The abort system will be a rocket system, including the solid rocket booster and crew module, that will sit at the very top of the launch stack. During an emergency, the abort-system rocket would pull the crew module up and away, and the rocket would separate from the module. Then the module’s parachute system would deploy to give the spacecraft a soft landing. The Dryden effort will be modeled after a similar one, Little Joe 2, used in the early 1960s to develop an abort system for the Apollo program. At Dryden, engineers will use full-scale mock-ups to work out how components will fit together and how the mechanics of the tests will be done. As in the Little Joe 2 program, actual flight-testing will be done at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. Joining Horowitz in making the announcement will be Doug Cooke, exploration deputy associate administrator; Jeff Hanley, constellation program manager and Caris “Skip” Hatfield, crew exploration vehicle project manager. The new spacecraft is named for one of the brightest, most familiar and easily identifiable constellations, NASA officials said. “Many of its stars have been used for navigation and guided explorers to new worlds for centuries,” Hatfied said. “Our team, and all of NASA – and, I believe, our country – grows more excited with every step forward this program takes. The future for space exploration is coming quickly.” The craft looks like a larger version of the Apollo spacecraft that went to the moon in the 1960s and ’70s. The planned spacecraft will transport up to six crew members to and from the International Space Station and up to four astronauts for moon missions, which the agency expects to start in 2018. NASA officials refer to the new moon plan as “Apollo on steroids.” The plan calls for placing four astronauts on the moon’s surface, instead of the two in Apollo days. Astronauts will be able to stay on the moon’s surface for four days to a week, while Apollo 17’s mission lasted three days. [email protected] (661) 267-5743160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! PALMDALE – NASA will announce Thursday which contractor team will build the nation’s next manned spacecraft, a vehicle called Orion that will take astronauts first on missions in Earth orbit and then later on trips to the moon and Mars. NASA’s associate administrator for the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate, Scott Horowitz, a former Edwards Air Force Base test pilot, will announce whether the work on the program will go to a team led by Lockheed Martin or to one led by Northrop Grumman, with Boeing as its major partner. The spaceship, referred to as the Crew Exploration Vehicle, will be named Orion. Orion’s first flight with astronauts aboard is planned for no later than 2014 to the International Space Station. Its first flight to the moon is planned for no later than 2020. A fleet of Orion spacecraft will replace the space shuttles.