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

Article written: 17 Jan , 2013
Updated: 23 Dec , 2015

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

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

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10 Responses

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

  2. Max Linguini says

    >sound in space

    oh NASA, you so silly.

  3. Mike Petersen says

    Phil Plait is cringing at this one.

  4. Member
    Gozlemci says

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

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

    • caveman664 says

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

  6. abeleehane says

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

  7. JM says

    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.

  8. Chetan Chauhan says

    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.

  9. Ed Hale says

    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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