AIR SPACE

Inside the Orion Spacecraft

NASA's Constellation Program included Orion, a spacecraft that would return humans to the moon and prepare for future voyages to Mars. Could it be the next vehicle to hit the moon? 

Orion spaceship drop test Dec 13, 2011

Dec. 13, 2011: An 18,000-pound test version of the Orion space capsule took its eighth and final splash of the year into the Hydro Impact Basin at NASA Langley Research Center. Orion, the next deep space exploration vehicle, will carry astronauts into space, provide emergency abort capability, sustain the crew during space travel, and ensure safe re-entry and landing.

NASA/Sean Smith

Orion in Lunar Orbit

NASA's Constellation Program was to include a new spacecraft that would return humans to the moon and serve as the building blocks for trips to Mars and other destinations in our solar system. 

The Orion spacecraft would be similar in shape to the Apollo spacecraft, but significantly larger. The tried-and-true conical form is the safest and most reliable for re-entering the Earth's atmosphere, especially when returning directly from the moon. This artist's rendering represents a concept of the Orion crew exploration vehicle in lunar orbit.

Lockheed Martin Corp.

Orion spacecraft assembly

The Lockheed Martin Orion team at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, La., inspects the Orion crew module ground test structure prior to shipping. From there, the spacecraft was shipped to Lockheed Martin's Denver facilities for rigorous testing.

NASA

Orion Space craft assembly

The first Orion crew module ground test structure stands ready for inspection after being completed at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans.

NASA

deep space test flight

May 6, 2010: NASA and Lockheed Martin successfully flight tested the Orion spacecraft launch abort system (LAS) for the Pad Abort-1 test.

White Sands Missile Range

Spacecraft Assembly room

The Lockheed Martin Space Operations Simulation Center high bay (or test bay) has a 60 meter range capability for testing full-scale spacecraft approach and departure maneuvers.

Lockheed Martin Corp.

Orion Deep Space Asteroid

The Orion Deep Space Vehicle concept utilizing two Orion spacecraft can provide the propulsion and life support systems needed to send a crew of three astronauts to an asteroid.

Lockheed Martin

Astro visit Asteroid Orion

This artist rendering depicts Lockheed Martin’s 'Plymouth Rock' asteroid mission concept with astronauts and the Orion spacecraft.

Lockheed Martin

Orion Cut Away

This artist's rendering represents a cut-away concept of the Orion boilerplate crew module test article used in Launch Abort System and landing systems test at White Sands Missile Range, N.M.

NASA

Orion Capsule

This artist's rendering represents the crew module of the Orion crew exploration vehicle. 

NASA

Orion Interior

This artist's rendering represents the crew module of the Orion crew exploration vehicle with the outer skin removed revealing the pressure shell and equipment bays.

NASA

Launch on Ares Rocket

A concept of an abort flight test of the Orion crew exploration vehicle's Launch Abort System at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The ascent abort tests used ascent abort boosters purchased through the U.S. Air Force

NASA

Orion Approaches Space Station

This artist's rendering represents a concept of the Orion spacecraft approaching the International Space Station in Earth-orbit.

NASA

Orion Approaches Space Station

This artist's rendering represents a concept of the Orion spacecraft approaching the International Space Station in Earth-orbit.

NASA

Orion Docked

This artist's rendering represents a concept of the Orion spacecraft docked to the International Space Station in Earth-orbit.

NASA

Orion Docked to Lunar Lander Craft

This artist's rendering represents a concept of the Orion crew exploration vehicle docked to a lunar lander in lunar orbit.

NASA

Drifting to Earth

Following tests of the Orion crew exploration vehicle's Launch Abort System and landing systems at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, the crew module was to float back to Earth under the drogue parachutes that initiate the landing sequence.

NASA

Orion With Chutes

This concept shows the crew module's descent back to Earth under its recovery parachutes using air bags to help soften landings on dry land.

NASA

Orion Craft Landing

The crew module lands on Earth using its recovery parachutes (out of scene). Air bags help soften landings on dry land.

NASA

Inside the Orion Spacecraft

NASA's Constellation Program included Orion, a spacecraft that would return humans to the moon and prepare for future voyages to Mars. Could it be the next vehicle to hit the moon? 

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