NASA has wrapped up a technical and programmatic assessment of the Orion spacecraft, which the agency is building with Lockheed Martin in a bid to send astronauts to an asteroid or Mars.
The agency pledged $6.77 billion to fund Orion development efforts from October 2015 through the spacecraft’s initial crewed mission by April 2023 following the program’s Key Decision Point C review, NASA said Thursday.
“As we take these steps to develop the capabilities we need to send astronauts deep into space, we're also aligning how we manage our human exploration systems development programs to ensure we are prepared for unforeseen future hurdles,” said NASA Associate Administrator Robert Lightfoot.
Engineers are assessing the capsule’s engineering design and systems and components as part of the critical design review phase.
NASA aims to complete the Space Launch System and ground infrastructure before Orion’s fully integrated unmanned test flight, which is scheduled for fall 2018.