NASA's New Orion Spacecraft and Space Launch System

Since the end of the Space Shuttle program, NASA technicians have been developing a new Space Launch System (SLS), along with a new manned spacecraft named Orion, designed to once again lift astronauts beyond low-Earth orbit, and return them safely home. Years of development and testing are leading up to the first planned (unmanned) launch of Orion in December, sending it 3,600 miles into space atop a Delta 4 Heavy booster. The complete system is scheduled for a an unmanned lunar-orbit test in 2017. Long-term, Orion and the SLS will serve as both transport and a home to astronauts during future long-duration missions to an asteroid, Mars and other destinations throughout our solar system.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Ads are being blocked

For us to continue writing great stories, we need to display ads.

Un-block Learn more
Back

Whitelist

Please select the extension that is blocking ads.

Back

Please follow the steps below

Most Recent

  • John Moore / Getty

    On the Border

    The border between the United States and Mexico stretches 3,169 kilometers (1,969 miles), crossing deserts, rivers, towns, and cities from the Pacific to the Gulf of Mexico.

  • SIPA Asia via ZUMA Wire / Corbis

    The Beauty of Terraced Fields

    For thousands of years, when farmers in mountainous regions have expanded their farms to grow crops on the steep slopes, they have carved massive steps into the terrain.

  • Matthias Schrader / AP

    Fall Is in the Air

    It’s starting to feel like my favorite time of year once more—the autumnal equinox took place last week.

  • Phyllis B. Dooney

    Rejecting the Deadbeat Dad Stereotype

    Parenting in the age of mass incarceration, the War on Drugs, and frequent exposure to crime and trauma

Join the Discussion