Space & Astronomy
NASA's Orion spacecraft to launch next month
By T.K. Randall
November 5, 2014 · 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
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