NASA plans to launch its first human-rated robotic spacecraft on an Orion spacecraft in 2022, according to a NASA presentation Tuesday.
The spacecraft, called Eclipse, will carry an engine developed by GSE, the private aerospace and defense company, for the Orion spacecraft.
The engine will power a series of science experiments on the spacecraft that could be used to investigate the properties of hydrogen and helium, as well as its effects on Earth and other planets.NASA has spent the past decade developing an engine for Orion that could take the vehicle farther into deep space, but the engine was only tested on the Orion capsule before it was flown to the moon and back.
Orion’s mission, which includes an orbiting laboratory, is slated to begin in 2022.
The NASA presentation described a series the agency is doing with GSE that could include a robotic arm, a docking port, and a command module for astronauts.
The goal is to take a robot to the surface of the moon, and it will then attempt to reach the moon.
Orion will then descend to the lunar surface and launch the spacecraft to a location on the moon called the lunar orbiter.
NASA hopes to send humans there in 2022.
“The engine is designed to operate at lunar speeds, but we want to test the vehicle and then bring it to lunar orbit and have it fly for several months,” NASA said in the presentation.
“We will also have it ready to launch in 2022,” NASA added.
“I am confident that we can get the engine to launch by 2022, and then test the spacecraft for the duration of the mission,” GSE CEO Bob Richards said in a statement.
“The next step is to send the vehicle on a mission to Mars, and we are making good progress there,” Gse chief technology officer John C. Huggins said in an interview with CNN.
“It’s a big milestone in the Orion program, but it’s also an important milestone in our future.”NASA said in its presentation that it would launch the mission on the Falcon 9 rocket in 2021 and then use a Space Launch System rocket for the trip to the Moon.
The mission is expected to be successful, and the vehicle is expected in space in 2021.NASA expects to use the vehicle to perform deep space science, including measuring the properties and properties of Earth’s atmosphere, geology, and oceanography.
The space agency is also looking at how to make the vehicle more efficient and efficient for future missions.
NASA has said the Orion mission could take about five years to complete.