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Space & Astronomy

NASA's Orion spacecraft to launch next month

By T.K. Randall
November 5, 2014 · Comment icon 75 comments



An artist's impression of Orion in orbit. Image Credit: NASA
NASA's successor to the space shuttles will be undertaking its first test flight in December.
Developed by Lockheed Martin, the multi-purpose spacecraft is designed to enable missions beyond low Earth orbit.

For this initial test flight there won't be any crew on board however the vehicle is capable of carrying up to six astronauts.

Set to launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on December 4th, Orion will travel 5,800 km from the Earth, far further than the orbit of the International Space Station.
Once it has reached its destination the spacecraft will complete two orbits before heading back through the atmosphere and splashing down somewhere in the Pacific Ocean.

"This is just the first of what will be a long line of exploration missions beyond low Earth orbit, and in a few years we will be sending our astronauts to destinations humans have never experienced," said Bill Hill, deputy associate administrator for Exploration Systems Development.

The first manned mission is scheduled to take place in 2020.



Source: Global News | Comments (75)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #66 Posted by Peter B 8 years ago
It just doesn't seem like the US is into outer space anymore. India is farther along than NASA at this point. My guess is there is no oil on Mars Do you mean manned missions or unmanned missions? If you mean manned missions, the (American) spacecraft on yesterday's mission is capable of heading out into deep space. As it's the first one to be able to do so in 40+ years, that doesn't sound like the USA's "not into outer space any more" to me. It sounds more like they're just gearing up to do Interesting Stuff In Outer Space With People. If you mean unmanned missions, what's the count of active ... [More]
Comment icon #67 Posted by highdesert50 8 years ago
If we not so polarized, so shackled by our fears, would we be well on our way to the distant stars? It seems we instead defend despotic physical and psychological borders which, at best, are fleeting. Kudos to NASA and those willing to evolve us to a noble legacy.
Comment icon #68 Posted by Merc14 8 years ago
It just doesn't seem like the US is into outer space anymore. India is farther along than NASA at this point. My guess is there is no oil on Mars Umm, you haven't a clue what you are talking about. 1. We have a probe on its way to Pluto due to arrive early next year. 2. As far as Mars is concerned we have two rovers active with a third being built for a 2020 arrival and two probes in orbit. 3. Cassini Huygens is actively exploring the Saturnian system . 4. Grail A & B as well as LADEE in orbit around the Moon. 5. SOHO and SDO studying the Sun. 6. Dawn investigating Vesta and Ceres 7. Hubbl... [More]
Comment icon #69 Posted by Czero 101 8 years ago
There are a couple of problems. Firstly, Mariner 7 (and its twin Mariner 6) was a fly-by mission. Thus it was never intended to slow down when it reached Mars, thus it never carried the fuel needed to slow down. So while it got to Mars quickly, it's trajectory wouldn't have been suitable for a mission intended to enter Mars orbit. Its journey to Mars lasted just over 5 months (164 days, not 131 days). By contrast, spacecraft going into Mars orbit seem to take between 6.5 and 11 months to get to Mars. Secondly, the idea of docking with a fuel supply is tricky. If you mean transferring fuel from... [More]
Comment icon #70 Posted by DieChecker 8 years ago
There are a couple of problems. Firstly, Mariner 7 (and its twin Mariner 6) was a fly-by mission. Thus it was never intended to slow down when it reached Mars, thus it never carried the fuel needed to slow down. So while it got to Mars quickly, it's trajectory wouldn't have been suitable for a mission intended to enter Mars orbit. Its journey to Mars lasted just over 5 months (164 days, not 131 days). Huh? I see Wiki says Mariner 7 launched on March 27, and arrived about August 9. Which is 5+30+31+30+31+9 = 136 days. Maybe you are thinking Mariner 6, which launched about a month before? Regard... [More]
Comment icon #71 Posted by lost_shaman 8 years ago
I thought it was a pretty brilliant test flight. Mission Control - Rob Navias said, "there's you're new Spacecraft, America, ". That was great!
Comment icon #72 Posted by Valdemar the Great 8 years ago
Because we've made no progress in space for 40 years.... Well, to be fair, we haven't got any further than Apollo did, and we haven't even got that far since 1972, with manned craft at any rate (if you don't count the Secret Space Program of course.)
Comment icon #73 Posted by Imaginarynumber1 8 years ago
Well, to be fair, we haven't got any further than Apollo did, and we haven't even got that far since 1972, with manned craft at any rate (if you don't count the Secret Space Program of course.) Maybe people haven't gone very dar, but the amount of data gathered is staggering.
Comment icon #74 Posted by Aardvark-DK 8 years ago
Oh yeah, those curves on the Atlantis just drove me wild. Easy there, go take a cold shower
Comment icon #75 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 8 years ago
It just doesn't seem like the US is into outer space anymore. India is farther along than NASA at this point. My guess is there is no oil on Mars What total and utter rubbish. India has just sent it's first, rather primitive, orbiter to Mars... where it joined the 3, far more sophisticated NASA orbiters and 2 rovers. India sent one, rather primitive orbiter to the Moon. Nearly half the instruments on board Chandrayaan-1 were provided by either NASA or ESA. It was designed to last 2 years but failed after only 312 days. Since Chandrayaan-1 NASA has launched 3 successful missions to the Moon (4 ... [More]


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