NASA is developing the Orion Multipurpose Crew Vehicle (Orion MPCV), a #Spacecraft that will take astronauts farther into the solar system than any other space vehicle has gone. This spacecraft is being designed to carry, maintain and bring four astronauts safely to earth. The spacecraft was named after the constellation Orion.

Orion Spacecraft

This is a NASA spacecraft that is currently under development and ii will be used as a space exploration vehicle. Its main purpose is to provide crew members on board with the capabilities for the exploration of asteroids and #Mars and to take and bring astronauts safely to earth once each space goal is completed. It has two modules -- the command module and the service module -- measuring 3.3 meters (11 ft.) high and 5 meters (16 ft) in diameter.

First flight

On December 5, 2014, Orion was launched uncrewed on top of a Delta IV Heavy rocket for a flight test that lasted 4 hours and 24 minutes on two orbits around the earth. This test flight intended to validate the crew safety systems, the vehicle´s parachutes, heat shield, launch abort, separation of the service module in case of emergency and recovery in the ocean after flight test. Orion is intended to be launched.

Design

The MPCV has been designed partly from technological elements of the Apollo Command Module -- the spacecraft that sent astronauts to the moon; however, with more sophisticated technology. Unlike the Apollo, Orion is designed to carry more astronauts and support longer missions of up to six months.

Future flight

In a near future flight, NASA will launch Orion on the most powerful rocket ever built -- the Space Launch System (SLS) -- in a mission dubbed Exploration Mission 1 (EM-1). During this mission, Orion will go thousands of miles farther from the moon in a three week trip into space. It will remain in space longer than any other manned spacecraft and will also return faster to earth than any other space vehicle. Future explorations with Orion and SLS include an #Asteroid and Mars.