Watch New Video of NASA's Gigantic 'Orion' Spacecraft

The giant crew module could eventually send astronauts to Mars.


NASA’s Orion spacecraft is still a long way (225 million kilometers, to be exact) from Mars, but it did make it to Florida at the beginning of this month.

Another Orion spacecraft flew an unmanned mission in 2014, and the current iteration is being prepped to fly another mission in late 2018, when it will launch on top of the planet’s most powerful rocket.

The Orion pressure module upon re-entry in 2014. 


The current pressure module, which will eventually carry astronauts, is currently undergoing the final preparations for its 2018 launch, which should be the last unmanned flight it takes before its first manned mission in 2023.

A digital recreation of the Space Launch System


NASA’s Orion system is meant to completely replace the retired Space Shuttle program, hopefully providing the platform that will result in an eventual manned mission to Mars.

Orion's crew module detaches during long range flight. 


Lockheed Martin engineers finished constructing the spacecraft in January, and it was flown to the Florida Kennedy Space Center on February 1, in NASA’s specially-designed Super Guppy aircraft.

“This will be our test to wring out the vehicle to make sure it’s safe to put humans in on the very next flight,” said Scott Wilson, the manager of Orion Production Operations at NASA. “We’re gonna travel 40,000 miles beyond the moon. It’ll be farther than any human-capable spacecraft has gone, ever.”

Watch the full video below.

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