NASA's Orion Capsule Will Fly in Seven Years

NASA has announced that Lockheed Martin will build America's new space capsule, called Orion. Expected to orbit Earth by 2014, Orion is expected to reach the moon by 2020. Although the capsule design has not been deemed to be especially exciting, unlike earlier capsules, Orion will be reusable. Melissa Block talks with U.S. Air Force Chief Scientist Mark Lewis about the spacecraft.

Lockheed Martin to Build Space Shuttle Replacement

An illustration of an Orion spacecraft in flight. Credit: Lockheed Martin. i i

hide captionAn illustration shows what it might look like when an Orion crew vehicle is launched on Ares 1 rocket. The U.S. hopes to use the, as yet unbuilt, vehicle to return to the moon by 2020.

Illustration/Lockheed Martin
An illustration of an Orion spacecraft in flight. Credit: Lockheed Martin.

An illustration shows what it might look like when an Orion crew vehicle is launched on Ares 1 rocket. The U.S. hopes to use the, as yet unbuilt, vehicle to return to the moon by 2020.

Illustration/Lockheed Martin

NASA announces it is entering into a multibillion dollar contract with a team led by Lockheed Martin to build a generation of spaceships capable of carrying astronauts to the moon. The vehicles — described as "Apollo on steroids" — will replace the space shuttle fleet. Lockheed had been in intense competition for the contract with a team led by Northrop Grumman and Boeing.

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