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New Look and New Animation for Orion’s 2017 Flight to the Moon and Back

The Orion spacecraft has gotten a new look for its first launch atop the inaugural flight of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) booster on the Exploration Mission-1 flight around the Moon in 2017 as seen in this new animation.

The vehicles service module will be built by the European Space Agency (ESA), as a result of a new bilateral agreement between NASA and ESA. Orion is designed to carry humans back to the Moon and to deep space destinations like Asteroids and Mars.

The service module will fuel and propel the capsule on its uncrewed journey to the Moon and back on EM-1 in 2017.

Read my follow-up report for details about the new NASA/ESA agreement. See my earlier story here, about preparations for the first Orion launch in September 2014 on the upcoming Exploration Flight Test-1 in 2014 atop a Delta IV Heavy. An unmanned Orion will fly on a two orbit test flight to an altitude of 3,600 miles above Earth’s surface, farther than a human spacecraft has gone in 40 years, and then plunge back to Earth to test the spacecrafts systems and heat shield.

NASA is also simultaneously fostering the development of commercial ‘space taxis’ to fly astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) as part of a dual track approach to restore America’s human space launch capability. The 1st commercial crew vehicle might fly as early as 2015 – details here.

Ken Kremer

IMG_1605s_Orion at KSC_Ken Kremer

Image caption: Orion EFT-1 crew cabin construction ongoing at the Kennedy Space Center which is due to blastoff in September 2014 atop a Delta 4 Heavy rocket. Credit: Ken Kremer

About 

Dr. Ken Kremer is a speaker, scientist, freelance science journalist (Princeton, NJ) and photographer whose articles, space exploration images and Mars mosaics have appeared in magazines, books, websites and calanders including Astronomy Picture of the Day, NBC, BBC, SPACE.com, Spaceflight Now and the covers of Aviation Week & Space Technology, Spaceflight and the Explorers Club magazines. Ken has presented at numerous educational institutions, civic & religious organizations, museums and astronomy clubs. Ken has reported first hand from the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral and NASA Wallops on over 40 launches including 8 shuttle launches. He lectures on both Human and Robotic spaceflight - www.kenkremer.com. Follow Ken on Facebook and Twitter

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Paul Patric-White January 17, 2013, 10:10 AM

    Wow! the engine’s are loud in space ;)
    But on a serious note, another mission to the moon? Long overdue! Nice animation also.

  • Max Linguini January 17, 2013, 11:46 AM

    >sound in space

    oh NASA, you so silly.

  • Mike Petersen January 17, 2013, 11:51 AM

    Phil Plait is cringing at this one.

  • Gozlemci January 17, 2013, 5:59 PM

    Anyway, It is nice to return back to the moon; even though it is in the animation !

  • Michael Waldrop January 17, 2013, 7:38 PM

    at 113 does anyone else see an xwing approaching the death star?

    • caveman664 January 17, 2013, 7:49 PM

      Nice catch! I also noticed the very Battlestar Galactica feel to the filming of the capsule around 1:16.

  • abeleehane January 17, 2013, 11:57 PM

    Wow, 2minutes and 21 seconds to reach the moon and back to earth…That’s really fast !

  • JM January 18, 2013, 6:29 AM

    With people eventually on board (4?) a rather heavy spacecraft (3x the weight of Apollo), seems the need to deploy parachutes on 3 separate occasions will make for a rather bumpy re-entry.

  • Chetan Chauhan January 19, 2013, 8:46 AM

    Awesome , I really hope they’ve got to the bottom of those mysterious cracks in the previous test capsules.

    It’s a great idea though to really test the capsule whether it performs at 100% on a long orbit around the moon , without any risk to the astronauts.

  • Ed Hale January 19, 2013, 4:21 PM

    This is basically Apollo 8…50 years later. However..I support if fully..lets make it international and get back to space exploration!

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