The versatile Orion spacecraft




The Orion spacecraft crew module for Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1) is lifted into a test stand for pressure testing in the Neil Armstrong Operations & Checkout Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

The work is an important milestone on Orion’s journey toward EM-1, its mission beyond the moon atop the Space Launch System rocket in 2018.

For the first time in a generation, NASA is building a human spacecraft for deep space missions that will usher in a new era of space exploration.

A series of increasingly challenging missions awaits, and this new spacecraft will take us farther than we’ve gone before, including to the vicinity of the Moon and Mars.

Named after one of the largest constellations in the night sky and drawing from more than 50 years of spaceflight research and development, the Orion spacecraft is designed to meet the evolving needs of our nation’s deep space exploration program for decades to come.

Orion deep space exploration missions will help to unlock the mysteries of space.

Orion will serve as the exploration vehicle that will carry the crew to space, provide emergency abort capability, sustain astronauts during their missions and provide safe re-entry from deep space return velocities.

Orion missions will launch from NASA’s modernized spaceport at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on the agency’s new, powerful Space Launch System rocket.

On the first integrated mission, Exploration Mission-1, an uncrewed Orion will venture thousands of miles beyond the Moon over the course of about three weeks. The mission will pave the way for flights with astronauts beginning in the early 2020s.

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  • Title: The versatile Orion spacecraft
  • Creator: NASA