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Space Exploration Module Drops By Austin

The Orion module undergoes moment-of-inertia testing in Dryden's Flight Loads Lab.
The Orion module undergoes moment-of-inertia testing in Dryden's Flight Loads Lab.

By Mose Buchele, KUT News

Dallas, TX – If you happened to be driving past the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum on Father's Day and saw a space ship sitting next to the road, it wasn't your imagination. KUT's Mose Buchele reports the vehicle for NASA's Orion Deep Space Exploration Module, the ship that's replacing the Space Shuttle, was on display there.

Reaction from crowds at the display ran the gamut.

"I want to fly that ship!" said four-year-old Orion Oren.

"What little boy doesn't want to be named after a space ship?" joked his mother, Joy Cravens.

Many visitors remarked on the Orion Module's similar appearance to the command module of the Apollo spacecraft that took men to the moon 40 years ago.

The Orion prototype version of NASA's Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle that was used in the Launch Abort System PA-1 test last year, departed NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center in California Tuesday evening June 14. The truck-mounted capsule will be on display at two museums in Arizona and Texas and an education center in Florida before its arrival at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida in late June.

"I'm ambivalent about how I feel about today, about the capsule," said Darrin Little. "On the on hand it's pretty cool, but on the other hand it's just sad. It seems like we're just learning to walk again in terms of putting men into a capsule and launching it into space and touching down on another planted."

"The morphology of this thing looks just like an Apollo Capsule basically, just a 2011 model," Little added.

Representatives from NASA and Lockheed Martin, the company that helped engineer the Orion, said they went back to the Apollo shape was that it had proven its usefulness and durability in previous moon landings.

"There's more and more indication that there's water on the surface of the moon, and that the surface of the moon can be mined to generate oxygen, water and rocket propellants," said Larry Price, a deputy program manager with Lockheed Martin. "We can actually go colonize the moon and use it as a step to move out into the solar system."

NASA: Orion Press Release

NASA: "First Test Orion Crew Module Shipped Out"

NASA: Orion Projects Office