Northrop-Grumman Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) (2005)
About the Design
As the U.S. Space Shuttle approached retirement, NASA began accepting proposals for a new generation of manned spacecraft dubbed Crew Exploration Vehicles (CEVs). Realizing that the the idea of building a fleet of reusable spacecraft had been a costly mistake, engineers went "back to the future" and proposed a simpler, cheaper "one-time-only" craft based on proven Apollo-era concepts.
This particular 2005 design from one of America's major defense contractors was slightly larger than the 1960s-era Apollo spacecraft, its Command Module being able to carry four astronauts instead of three. It also employed twin solar panels to generate additional power for extended spaceflights.
About the Kit
This was the third kit produced by Fantastic Plastic Models, and the first in 1:72. Mastered by Scott Lowther and cast by Controlled Energy Designs with decals by JBOT, the model depicted the Apollo-like CEV as it was proposed by Northrop-Grumman in summer 2005. Many elements of this design were incorporated into the final Orion spacecraft, the most obvious difference being the shape of the solar panels.