Recently, however, a new spacecraft capable of carrying astronauts was tested in the United States. The Orion, also known by the acronym MPCV - Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle - has been developed by NASA for human exploration of deep space, in other words, to go beyond LEO (Low Earth Orbit), the closest orbital area to terrestrial soil.
Orion, therefore, was created with the goal of taking humans to the Moon, the planet Mars and the asteroids that roam the solar system. Its design is based on the Constellation Program, a US space exploration project from the early 2000s that was cancelled due to its high cost.
Among the star constellations already mapped, the Orion is one of the better known and is easy to identify as it includes very bright stars and is visible in both hemispheres, since it is situated on the Celestial Equator.
Its history is closely related to a mythological legend. The name Orion comes from that of an ancient hero who was a great hunter. Artemis, who was also a fine hunter, fell in love with Orion, however, her brother, Apollo, disapproved of the relationship between the two and sent a scorpion to sting Orion. In the confusion, Artemis tried to save her beloved but her aim went wrong and her arrow ended up striking and killing him. Heartbroken and inconsolable, she asked Zeus, the God of all Gods, to place Orion among the stars so he would be clearly visible and very bright!
The first unmanned test flight of the Orion spacecraft was successfully carried out at the beginning of this month, and with this, the audacious US space plans have gained strength. The Orion MPCV resembles the spacecraft from the Apollo project, but its technology and capacity are much more advanced.
Human space exploration is taking a new direction and it is becoming increasingly more certain that, in the coming years, we will return to the Moon and venture onwards to Mars.
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