U.S. unveils Orion spacecraft to take crew to Mars

By | April 1, 2009

U.S. unveils Orion spacecraft to take crew to Mars

NASA gave visitors to the National Mall in Washington a peek at a full-size mock-up of the spacecraft designed to carry U.S. astronauts back to the moon and then on to Mars one day.

The U.S. Navy-built Orion crew exploration vehicle will replace the space shuttle NASA plans to retire in 2010, and become the cornerstone of the agency’s Constellation Program to explore the moon, Mars and beyond.

“We’re just very proud to build this, do some testing and demonstrate to America that we’re moving beyond the space shuttle onto another generation of spacecraft,” said Don Pearson, project manager for the Post-Landing Orion Recovery Test or PORT.

NASA plans to use Orion to carry astronauts to the International Space Station by 2015. The capsule will rotate the crew at the station every six months “to work out the kinks” before heading to the moon and Mars, Pearson said.

Trips to the moon are scheduled for 2020, while a journey to Mars is believed possible by the mid-2030s.

via U.S. unveils Orion spacecraft to take crew to Mars – Boston.com.

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