NASAs Next Spaceship
NASA unveils plan for new multipurpose space vehicle.
NASA is setting its sights on the future of the U.S. Space Program.
The agency is unveiling a new space ship, but pushing back when that ship will go into service.
It was called Orion.
Now it is called MPCV - Multipurpose Crew Vehicle.
The Orion, which would have taken astronauts to the moon under a plan canceled by President Obama, would have launched in 2014.
The MPCV's launch date is unknown.
It will be launched on what NASA's calling a heavy-lift rocket, a rocket that hasn't been defined yet but which could use space shuttle-type booster rockets and fuel tanks.
The capsule's mission would be to take astronauts beyond earth orbit, perhaps to Mars or to an asteroid; missions that might last more than a year.
The moon as a destination is no longer fashionable.
All the while, NASA will continue to support flying astronauts on commercially-built ships, such as mini-shuttles or an Apollo-style capsule built by Spacex.
Those flights could begin as early as 2014, and would go only to the International Space Station.