Orion spacecraft, illustration

Orion spacecraft, illustration

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Caption: Orion spacecraft, cutaway colour-coded illustration. The components of this spacecraft include the European Service Module (ESM, cylindrical) which provides electricity, propulsion, air and water. The Crew Module (conical) on top of the ESM houses four astronauts and cargo. It is designed to re-enter Earth's atmosphere, protected by its heat shield. The fairing (nose cone) protects the spacecraft during launch, while the Launch Abort System (LAS, lower left) forms the tip of the launcher. It has rockets of its own that fire in an emergency. Like the fairing, it is discarded at altitude after launch. Developed by NASA, with a test flight taking place in 2014, the first Orion crewed launches are scheduled for around 2023. The Orion spacecraft are intended for use in Earth orbit, and for human exploration of the Moon, the asteroids and of Mars. Artwork published in 2009.

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