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Florida Today: Orion crew vehicle next chapter in space

Monday, August 08, 2011

As mentioned in the July 28 editorial, “Bolden pressing on,” there has been confusion as to our nation’s future plans for space exploration. While there are commercial ventures on the horizon, we cannot lose sight of America’s space program.

Currently, NASA is working on the completion of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV), which will have the ability to take humans to Mars and deep space in conjunction with the heavy-lift launch vehicle that Congress has asked NASA to begin developing.

Thanks to the gridlock in Washington, the next generation of human space exploration needs citizens’ support more than ever.

Commercial space access to low Earth orbit may have a role to play, but NASA must also be able to boldly press on. The Orion has five decades of proven human spaceflight experience behind it and will be ready for test flights as early as 2015.

Although Americans have frequently heard of other avenues to travel to space, these low Earth orbit alternatives are not intended for human space exploration beyond the International Space Station. However, the Orion MPCV is.

The Space Coast has played an impressive and unparalleled role in the history of America’s space program and Orion is the next chapter.

Rocky Randels
Mayor, Cape Canaveral

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