The Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) is a spacecraft capable of carrying a crew of four to six astronauts to destinations beyond-low Earth orbit (LEO). Orion will facilitate human exploration of the Moon, asteroids, and Mars.
Orion's first unmanned test flight, known as Exploration Flight Test 1 (EFT-1), was launched aboard a Delta IV Heavy rocket at Cape Canaveral on December 5, 2014. The flight lasted 4 hours and 24 minutes, sending Orion 3,604 miles above Earth (15 times higher than the International Space Station) and then landing on target in the Pacific Ocean 270 miles west of Baja California.
Another unmanned mission is scheduled for September 2018, with a duration of 7 to 10 days. The first manned Orion mission is not expected to take place until 2021.
Image : NASA