Orion Multipurpose Crew Vehicle
Special Report on Transportation
Snapshot: Spaceships in Florida
NASA retired the shuttles and with it manned space flight from Florida, but over the next year, other space milestones are on the Canaveral schedule.
- November: An Atlas V will send an atmospheric research mission on its way to Mars.
- December: Private space company SpaceX will use a Falcon 9 to carry out the third commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station. Two more flights are scheduled for the following April and August.
- September 2014: Lockheed Martin Space Systems will make the first unmanned test flight of the Orion Multipurpose Crew Vehicle, NASA’s bid to return to U.S.-manned space flight in the next decade. Designed for a journey to the moon, an asteroid or Mars, the module will go aloft on a Delta IV rocket and reach 3,600 miles above the Earth’s surface, more than 10 times the altitude that the shuttles reached, and then come back at 25,000 mph.
- October 2014: An Atlas V will lift a four-in-one space vehicle to study microphysics in Earth’s magnetosphere. The Magnetospheric Multiscale mission splits into four identical spacecraft that fly in tandem to take readings from different points.
- November 2014: DSCOVR was originally a pet project of then Vice President Al Gore to give people an ongoing view of an entire sunlit Earth hemisphere — similar to what’s called the Blue Marble photo of the Earth from the Apollo era. First named Triana and unofficially “Goresat,” the Deep Space Climate Observatory was built and then mothballed in a warehouse for years. Now it’s scheduled for launch. It will still do what Gore wanted, but its primary mission is studying space weather.