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 ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Bulent Kilic / AFP / Getty

    Photos: Closing In on the Last ISIS Stronghold

    A U.S.-backed coalition now surrounds the last remaining ISIS holdout—the final vestige of a so-called caliphate that once controlled vast territories but that is now boxed in and desperate—in a tiny village under siege in eastern Syria.

  • Ozkan Bilgin / Anadolu Agency / Getty

    Photos of the Super Snow Moon

    Last night, skywatchers around the world were treated to views of the so-called super snow moon, and photographers across the globe captured the event.

  • Vincenzo Pinto / AFP / Getty

    Carnival in Venice 2019

    Colorful images from the opening days of the festival—“Tutta colpa della Luna!

  • Kevin Winter / Getty for The Recording Academy

    Photos of the Week: Lego Bugatti, Snowy Seattle, Cattle Dating

    Valentine’s Day among humans and animals, family reunions at an Indian border fence, an icy dinosaur in Latvia, snow kayaking in Estonia, International Condom Day in Mexico City, and much more