Unveiling the Orion spacecraft

Calling it an exciting chapter in the United States' great space exploration story, NASA this week unveiled the Orion capsule, which will eventually take astronauts on missions to destinations far beyond Earth, to such places as asteroids and Mars.

Orion will be the most advanced spacecraft ever designed. It will provide emergency abort capability, sustain astronauts during space travel, and provide safe re-entry from deep space. The craft will carry astronauts farther into space than ever before. Orion will launch atop the Space Launch System (SLS), NASA's next flagship rocket currently under design.

For more on Orion's development, see this earlier slideshow:
NASA's Orion edges closer to space (photos)

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Photo by: NASA/Gianni Woods / Caption by:

Artist Concept, SLS 70 Metric Ton Configuration

An artist rendering of the 70-metric-ton configuration of NASA's Space Launch System, managed by the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.
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Photo by: NASA/MSC / Caption by:

Orion capsule is packed up for shipment

At NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in Louisiana, the first space-bound Orion capsule is packed up for shipment to the Kennedy Space Center for final processing and outfitting. (It arrived this week). The spacecraft will fly on Exploration Flight Test-1 in 2014.
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Photo by: NASA / Caption by:

Flight prep for 2014

Orion got shipped this week to Kennedy Space Center, where it is being outfitted for the Exploration Flight Test-1 in 2014.
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Photo by: NASA / Caption by:

Orion unveiled

From left, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, NASA Kennedy Space Center Director Robert Cabana, and NASA Deputy Director Lori Garver discuss NASA's first space-bound Orion capsule in Kennedy's Operations and Checkout Building high bay following an event marking the spacecraft's arrival in Florida.
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Photo by: NASA/Kim Shiflett / Caption by:

Adapter Ring Machining at Marshall

At NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., SLS Spacecraft & Payload Integration Manager David Beaman, Adapter Subsystem Manager Brent Gaddes, and Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle to Stage Adapter Lead Myron Tapscott discuss the machining of an aluminum adapter ring similar to the design needed for Exploration Flight.
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Photo by: NASA/MSFC / Caption by:

Inpsecting machine work

A Marshall Center machinist takes a close look at a recent cut on an aluminum adapter ring.
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Photo by: NASA/MSFC / Caption by:

Grinding the ring

A specialized state-of-the-art milling tool grinds away at a 20-foot diameter aluminum ring.

For more on Orion's development, see this earlier slideshow:
NASA's Orion edges closer to space (photos)

Updated:
Photo by: NASA/MSFC / Caption by:
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