NASA’s Orion spacecraft getting closer to finally flying again
It has been a long three-and-a-half years since the Orion spacecraft first launched into space in December 2014, making a successful shake-out flight. But now, NASA’s program aimed at building a large, deep-space capsule capable of sending astronauts to and from lunar orbit is finally ramping back up toward a series of test flights. In less than a year, a boilerplate model of the Orion spacecraft will be jettisoned from its rocket at 55 seconds after liftoff, to test the vehicle’s launch abort system.
Provided that goes well, about a year after that, the Orion spacecraft will be sent into lunar orbit for longer than a week for a shakedown cruise. Finally, as early as June 2022, two to four astronauts will fly aboard Orion into lunar orbit, sending humans into deep space for the first time since 1972.