After photographing the Cherry Blossoms around Washington DC Monday, I decided to take a walk to my favorite museum, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. As I was proceeding down the National Mall I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw a spacecraft sitting on the edge of the mall a few hundred yards away. As I got closer I did indeed see a spacecraft. The brand new mock up of the Orion Spacecraft.
NASA was showcasing the next generation of spacecraft that will return humans to the moon. The full size mockup was in front of the National Air and Space Musuem for a day before making its way to open water testing in the Atlantic off the coast of the Kennedy Space Center, in Florida.
After talking with the engineers for about an hour and taking plenty of photos I found out that Orion is a mission targeted to begin carrying humans to the International Space Station in 2015, and to the moon in 2020. It is all part of the new space Constellation program to further man’s exploration of the moon and beyond. Above is Orion on the National Mall with crowd of asking questions about the space program with NASA representitives and engineers.
The Orion is “a lot” larger than the “old” Apollo 11 spacecraft that I saw minutes later in the National Air and Space Museum. Orion will be able to hold 6 astronauts, according to NASA engineers.
I will be posting more information about my trip to Washington soon, and, an inside look at the exhibits at the National Air and Space Museum. Stay tuned!