LOCKHEED MARTIN CORPORATION / NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY LOCKHEED MARTIN CORPORATION / NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
ISS spaceflight. Artwork of the Orion spacecraft (lower left) approaching the International Space Station (ISS, upper right) in 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. Initially, Orion will be used for flights to the ISS, carrying crews of six astronauts. It will then be used to take crews of four to and from the Moon, and later it will be used for missions to Mars. Orion will be similar in shape to the Apollo spacecraft, but larger. Its conical shape is the safest and most reliable for re-entering the Earth's atmosphere.
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