SAN PEDRO (CBSLA.com) — A test version of NASA’s new Orion spacecraft will call the Port of Los Angeles home this week in an effort to educate the public about the nation’s deep space exploration plans.
The new space ship is aboard the USS Anchorage where NASA and the Navy conducted tests this week over the Pacific Ocean to determine how the spacecraft will be recovered following space exploration.
“We’re testing a lot of the safety systems, fairing separations, parachutes, guidance and navigation,” Orion Program Director Mark Geyer said.
On Dec. 4, Orion will launch atop a rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida and will travel 3.600 miles above the earth, which is farther than any spacecraft built for humans in the last 40 years.
The unman spacecraft will be return to earth at nearly 20,000 mph when it comes back from its first space mission, according to officials.
All Orion missions will end off the coast of California, Geyer said.
NASA hopes Orion will be able to transport four to six astronauts around the moon and on to Mars, where eventually the agency hopes to establish a space station.