NASAs Next Spaceship

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Thursday, May 26, 2011 - 3:48pm

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.
 

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