NASA's Next-Generation Spaceship Set for Test Flight

December 2, 2014 12:03 PM

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A NASA spaceship in development for nearly a decade is poised to make a two-orbit, 4.5-hour flight around Earth this week to test its heat shield, parachutes and other equipment needed to one day fly astronauts to and from Mars.

The gumdrop-shaped Orion capsule is sized for four passengers, though it will fly autonomously with no crew aboard for its debut run. Orion eventually will be paired with a new heavy-lift NASA rocket, called the Space Launch System, or SLS, which is still under development. For the test flight, sche...

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