For the first time in a generation, NASA is building a new spacecraft to carry humans that will usher in a new era of space exploration. That spacecraft is the one and only Orion. A spacecraft that will be going through a series of challenging missions on its first test flight, we’ve compiled a list of interesting facts that you probably didn’t know about the Orion :

1. The Orion is named after one of the largest constellations in the night sky

2.  A successful test launch already took place at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico of the vehicle’s launch abort system was completed to verify the escape capability of Orion.

3.A series of rigorous acoustic and modal tests on the Orion ground test vehicle at Lockheed Martin’s test facilities in Denver validated Orion’s ability to withstand the harsh environments of launch, abort, re-entry and space flight.

4. Mission destinations for the Orion include  near-Earth asteroids, our own Moon, the moons of Mars and eventually Mars itself.

5. Orion’s contains a unique life support system, propulsion, thermal protection and avionics systems in combination with other technology that will enable extended duration deep space missions. These systems have been developed to facilitate integration of new technical innovations as they become available in the future which makes the Orion the ultimate up gradable spacecraft.

Source: NASA