At NASA Headquarters in Washington and the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, NASA leaders spoke to members of the new media about how the first flight of the new Orion spacecraft is a first step in the agency's plans to send humans to Mars. Seen on a video monitor at Kennedy, Headquarter participants, from the left are: Trent Perrotto of NASA Public Affairs, Jason Crusan, director of Advanced Exploration Systems Division of Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, Jim Reuther, deputy associate administrator for Programs, Space Technology Mission Directorate, and Jim Green, director of Planetary Division of the Science Mission Directorate.
Orion is the exploration spacecraft designed to carry astronauts to destinations not yet explored by humans, including an asteroid and Mars. It will have emergency abort capability, sustain the crew during space travel and provide safe re-entry from deep space return velocities. The first unpiloted flight test of Orion is scheduled to launch Dec. 4, 2014 atop a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket, and in 2018 on NASA’s Space Launch System rocket. For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/orion Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett