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NASA to Test Next-Generation Orion Spaceship

Artist's rendering of the Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle on a deep space mission.

Artist's rendering of the Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle on a deep space mission. (NASA)

A spaceship Lockheed Martin is building for NASA is being prepared for the next round of tests as engineers attach a tower designed to lift the ship and its astronauts to safety if something goes wrong during launch.

Lockheed Martin said Friday the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle and abort system will be subjected to sound vibration tests at the company's facility near Denver.

The vibrations will emulate the sound pressure levels of a launch and deployment of the abort system.

Lockheed Martin of Bethesda, Maryland, has a $7.5 billion contract to build the Orion capsule. It was originally intended for use in a Moon mission that President Barack Obama canceled last year.

NASA says Orion will take four astronauts on 21-day trips. The destination hasn't been determined.