Orion Spacecraft Unveiled

orion spacecraftThe Orion spacecraft seen pictured to the right is the latest vehicle for transport man through space. Due for its first test flight in 2014, the Orion spacecraft is expected to carry its first group of 4 astronauts beyond Earth’s orbit in 2017. Orion is the most advanced and safest spacecraft ever to be built; it will provide life support throughout travel as well as replaceable heat-shields and a launch escape system. Orion has been purpose built to be compatible with future space technologies without the need to be rebuilt or adapted from the original design.

Orion Test Flight

In 2014, the spacecraft will endure a several hour test flight in which it is launched into orbit aboard a Delta IV Heavy rocket. NASA scientists will monitor the spacecrafts behaviour throughout launch, into orbit and eventually back through the incredibly high temperatures of reentry. This test flight of Orion will not be manned.

Future Missions for Orion

While the spacecraft is being designed for NASA, it may serve a purpose for the evergrowing commercial space flight industry. Orion is able to go beyond low-Earth orbit and there are plans to make trips to the ISS, an asteroid, the moon and possibly even embark on a manned missions to Mars. Orion will be the first spacecraft to take humans beyond Earth orbit since the Apollo 17 lunar landing

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Jack is the content manager of planets.org.uk and is a keen amateur journalist. After completing a degree in astronomy from Newcastle University, Jack went on to develop this website out of his passion for space.