NASA’s Orion Spacecraft Is Coming Together for Its Eventual Purpose of Shooting Humans Way out into Space

No, spaceships don't have to be shaped like police phone boxes to be great.
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NASA is preparing the Orion Spacecraft for its upcoming unmanned test flight, “Exploration Flight Test-1.” It’s designed to carry a human crew into distant space and to awesome places like asteroid surfaces and Mars. Yeah, Mars. A human being will visit a different planet for the first time, thanks to this ship. If that’s not exciting, then I don’t know what is.

If you want to see what is currently the greatest spaceship in the (known) universe, NASA has a nifty little feature on their site that allows you to look around the bay where Orion is being assembled and see the ship’s progress for yourself. Most recently, they’ve attached it to the United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket, which will propel Orion 3,600 miles into Earth’s orbit as part of the test.

While that’s not particularly far (the moon is 238,855 miles away, and we’ve already been there), the test will make sure that Orion is ready to safely bring human crews back to Earth at the speeds necessary to travel between planets. The spacecraft will splash down in the Pacific, like all good space stuff, after flying back towards the Earth at the blistering speed of 20,000 mph at the end of its mission in September, 2014.

20,000 miles per hour? Man, astronauts are brave.

(via NASA, image via NASA/Bill Stafford)

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Dan Van Winkle
Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct Geekosystem (RIP), and then at The Mary Sue starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at Smash Bros.