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The Orion Space Capsule: NASA's Next Spaceship (Photos)

Orion Space Capsule Rocket

NASA

The first test flight of the new rocket, which will be more powerful than NASA's mighty Saturn V moon rocket, is set for 2017.

Orion Space Capsule Solar Panels

NASA

The Solar Array on the Orion Space Capsule is recognizable in this artist's illustration of the space capsule.

Orion Service Panels Separation

NASA TV

Orion capsule's service panels separate and fall back to Earth after launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Dec. 5, 2014.

Exploration Flight Test 1

NASA/Bill Ingalls

A Delta IV Heavy rocket carrying NASA's Orion spacecraft lifts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Dec. 5, 2014 at 7:05 a.m. EST. [NASA's Orion Spacecraft: Full Coverage of First Test Flight

Exploration Flight Test 1

Roger Guillemette for Space.com

A Delta IV Heavy rocket carrying NASA's Orion spacecraft lifts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Dec. 5, 2014 at 7:05 a.m. EST. [NASA's Orion Spacecraft: Full Coverage of First Test Flight

Exploration Flight Test 1

NASA/Bill Ingalls

A Delta IV Heavy rocket carrying NASA's Orion spacecraft lifts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Dec. 5, 2014 at 7:05 a.m. EST. [NASA's Orion Spacecraft: Full Coverage of First Test Flight

Exploration Flight Test 1

(NASA/Bill Ingalls

A Delta IV Heavy rocket carrying NASA's Orion spacecraft lifts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Dec. 5, 2014 at 7:05 a.m. EST. [NASA's Orion Spacecraft: Full Coverage of First Test Flight

Exploration Flight Test 1

Roger Guillemette for SPACE.com

Photographer Roger Guillemette took this photo of the launch of Orion spacecraft on Dec. 5, 2014, from a vantage point on the roof of the Vehicle Assembly Building, 525 feet (160 m.) above the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Exploration Flight Test 1

Roger Guillemette for Space.com

Photographer Roger Guillemette took this photo of the launch of Orion spacecraft on Dec. 5, 2014, from a vantage point on the roof of the Vehicle Assembly Building, 525 feet (160 m.) above the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Lift Off of NASA's First Orion Space Capsule

collectSPACE.com/Robert Z. Pearlman

NASA's first Orion space capsule launches into space atop a Delta 4 Heavy rocket to begin Exploration Flight Test-1 from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Dec. 5, 2014.

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Space.com Staff
Space.com Staff

Space.com is the premier source of space exploration, innovation and astronomy news, chronicling (and celebrating) humanity's ongoing expansion across the final frontier. Originally founded in 1999, Space.com is, and always has been, the passion of writers and editors who are space fans and also trained journalists. Our current news team consists of Editor-in-Chief Tariq Malik; Editor Hanneke Weitering, Senior Space Writer Mike Wall; Senior Writer Meghan Bartels; Senior Writer Chelsea Gohd, Senior Writer Tereza Pultarova and Staff Writer Alexander Cox, focusing on e-commerce. Senior Producer Steve Spaleta oversees our space videos, with Diana Whitcroft as our Social Media Editor.