If space is the final frontier, then human travel in to deep space, beyond the Moon, is the ultimate frontier. NASA’s Orion program intends to do just that – travel with humans on board back to the Moon and out into deep space, and one day soon, Mars.
But before human travel, NASA is launching a series of test missions to target risk reduction, efficiencies identification, and industry partnerships enhancement. A successful Exploration Flight Test-1 is already behind them and NASA is poised to launch the next un-crewed phase of its mission, Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1), in late 2019. And then, EM-2 will follow in 2023, but with one major addition; this spacecraft will be crewed.
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The Orion docking hatch cover 3D printed with Antero (ESD).
“We’ve been able to see orders of magnitude savings both in cost and schedule on all of these parts because the part builds are very consistent, the material properties are well understood, and the build parameters are becoming better understood.”
Brian Kaplun, Lockheed Martin Space