LOCKHEED MARTIN CORPORATION / NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY LOCKHEED MARTIN CORPORATION / NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Ares I rocket. Artwork of the Ares I rocket launching the Orion spacecraft into Earth orbit. Orion is the crew exploration vehicle for NASA's Constellation Program, a US space program announced in 2004. Orion will launch by around 2014, and the plan is to put astronauts back on the Moon by 2020. The tip of the rocket is the launch abort system (LAS), and Orion is the section immediately below that. The rest of the launch system is a shuttle-derived solid-fuel rocket booster, with a second stage powered by a liquid oxygen/hydrogen J2-X engine. The Ares rockets are named for the Greek god of Mars, since the Constellation Program is planned to eventually include missions to Mars.
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