Concept art of the Orion Capsule. Credit: NASA.

NASA recently showcased the new Orion capsule that was part of the former President George W. Bush’s Constellation Program. It was originally intended to return humans to the moon specifically but the Constellation Program was later scrapped by President Obama due to budget cuts. The capsule design is now being recycled to produce the next deep space vehicle for NASA.

The design is reminiscent of the Apollo capsule that took humans to the moon but is certainly far more advanced. The interior of the spacecraft especially will feature guidance, navigation, and life support equipment that with significantly improved capabilities.

Orion will be capable of transporting four crewmembers for lunar missions and future crew going to Mars. Orion could also carry up to six crew members for shorter trips to and from the International Space Station.

The Orion will be first launched during early 2014 on a Delta IV rocket to test its orbital and reentry performance

NASA: Orion