For the first time in a generation, NASA is building a new human spacecraft that will usher in a new era of space exploration. A series of increasingly challenging missions awaits, and this new spacecraft will take us farther than we’ve gone before, including Mars. Named after one of the largest constellations in the night sky and drawing from more than 50 years of spaceflight research and development, the Orion spacecraft is designed to meet the evolving needs of our nation’s deep space exploration program for decades to come. It will be the safest, most advanced spacecraft ever built, and it will be flexible and capable enough to take us to a variety of destinations.
Orion features dozens of technology advancements and innovations that have been incorporated into the spacecraft’s design. It includes both crew and service modules, a spacecraft adaptor and a revolutionary launch abort system that will significantly increase crew safety. Orion’s unique life support, propulsion, thermal protection and avionics systems in combination with other elements will enable extended duration deep space missions. These systems have been developed to facilitate integration of new technical innovations as they become available in the future.
Orion will utilize advances in propulsion, communications, life support, structural design, navigation and power, drawing from the extensive spaceflight experience of NASA and its industry partners. With destinations including near-Earth asteroids, our own Moon, the moons of Mars and eventually Mars itself, Orion will carry astronauts into a new era of exploration.