NASA Orion Space Capsule
Hey! The new Orion Space Capsule looks a LOT like the old Apollo capsules!
Maybe it's because the old Gemini and Apollo missions took place at about the time I was becoming aware of the world outside my parents house, but I'm fascinated with our explorations into space. Now that I think of it, that may have something to do with my fascination with 1950s - 1960s science fiction. Hmmmm.
Anyway, if you'd been wondering what NASA had in the works once the shuttle fleet is retired later this year, the answer is the Orion. Originally, the Orion was to be a replacement for the shuttles that have been in service for 30 years, but the Obama administration decided it would be retasked for manned missions to asteroids, Mars, wherever. At least that's what this MSNBC report says.
Rather than land on a runway, the Orion's return to Earth will be by way of splashing down onto an ocean, much the same as the old Apollo capsules.
The capsule is still being developed by Lockheed Martin and they'll be conducting more studies in their new test site in Colorado in the upcoming months.
I am still amazed when watching the shuttle launches, and can't wait to see the Orion leave the pad... And return!