NASA’s Impressive Orion Spacecraft – A Quick Overview

Orion (officially Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle or Orion MPCV) is a partially reusable crewed spacecraft to be used in NASA’s Artemis program.

The Orion MPCV is capable of supporting long-duration deep space missions with up to 21 days of active crew time plus 6 months quiescent spacecraft life. During the quiescent period crew life support would be provided by another module such as the lunar gateway space station.

Source: NASA

The Orion Crew Module (CM) provides a habitat for the crew as well as storage for consumables and research instruments, and contains the docking port for crew transfers. It can support four astronauts for short or long-duration missions. The CM is reusable and is the only part of the spacecraft that returns to Earth after each mission.

The Orion European Service Module (ESM) propels and powers the spacecraft as well as storing oxygen and water for astronauts, The ESM generates power using solar panels which automatically adjust to follow the Sun.

The Orion MPCV’s life support, propulsion, thermal protection, and avionics systems can be upgraded as new technologies become available.

For more details on Orion, please see the following NASA documents:

Additional information for the curious

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