NASA’s Orion spacecraft awaits the U.S. Navy’s USS Anchorage for a ride home. Orion launched into space on a two-orbit, 4.5-test flight at 7:05 am EST on Dec. 5, and safely splashed down in the Pacific Ocean, where a combined team from NASA, the Navy and Orion prime contractor Lockheed Martin retrieved it for return to shore on board the Anchorage. It is expected to be off loaded at Naval Base San Diego on Monday. Photo credit: U.S. Navy.
The Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) is a spacecraft intended to carry a crew of up to four astronauts to destinations beyond-low Earth orbit (LEO); in the future, Orion will hopefully facilitate human exploration to asteroids, the Moon and even Mars. The first Orion test was successful on Friday, after a one day delay. In the meantime, the shuttle was enjoying a swim while awaiting pick-up.