We’ve been going through space withdrawal since NASA retired its last space shuttle a few months ago, but relief is on the way soon. Though manned missions are still a little further in the future, the agency has announced that it plans to launch the first test of its new Orion spacecraft by 2014.
The unmanned flight—designated Exploration Flight Test (ETF) 1—will feature the first real test of the Orion craft, which was part of the Constellation program until that program was scrapped back in 2010. It’s now being retooled to fit in with NASA’s new Space Launch System (SLS), Constellation’s replacement that will hopefully get us to an asteroid and then on to Mars sometime in the next decade or two. Continue reading