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The Orion spacecraft is built by NASA and prime contractor Lockheed Martin. It is currently the only spacecraft capable of crewed deep space flight and high-speed return to Earth from the vicinity of the Moon.

NASA’s Artemis program is leading the charge to land the first woman and first person of color on the surface of the Moon, and Orion is the spacecraft that will carry astronauts from Earth to the lunar vicinity and return them back home.

Orion is specifically designed to carry astronauts on deep space missions father than ever before. It will provide protection from solar radiation and high-speed entry into Earth’s atmosphere, as well as advanced and reliable technologies for communication and life support. Orion’s missions will span multiple phases, as part of NASA’s framework to build a flexible, reusable, and long-duration infrastructure that will last multiple decades and support missions of increasing complexity.

The Moon is the proving ground for sending astronauts to Mars. It gives us opportunities to test new tools, instruments, and equipment to expand humanity into our solar system. Mars remains the horizon goal. NASA expects to take advantage of the unique exploration capabilities of both SLS and Orion and emerging commercial capabilities to build and support the Gateway.

Alternate Names

  • 54257

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 2022-11-16
Launch Vehicle: SLS Block 1 Crew
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral, United States

Funding Agency

  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (United States)


  • Other

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Coordinated Request and User Support Office

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