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MERRITT ISLAND, Florida — Science fiction is slowly giving way to reality at NASA. The agency has unveiled its new Orion capsule, a ship that will define the new future of American manned space exploration.
"It will travel farther into space than any spacecraft designed for humans has flown in the 40 years since our astronauts went to the moon," announced NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Carver.
The Orion team has an ambitious goal: An unmanned test flight in just two years, travel to an asteroid by the 2020s and a trip to Mars a decade later.
"It's a new and exciting chapter in America's great space exploration story," Carver said.
A long-range vision made possible in part by a new partnership with private companies to handle low earth orbit and service to the International Space Station, giving NASA scientists the space to focus on a trip further into the stars.
Thankfully, for a struggling industry, the initial benefits of Orion will come more quickly.
"We, through this program, are going to be ending the out-sourcing of American space jobs and bringing them right back here," Carver promised.
The Orion program means an immediate boost of about 350 jobs along the Florida Space Coast.