NASA's next generation spacecraft
The "Orion" Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) is a planned beyond low-earth orbit manned spacecraft that is being built by Lockheed Martin for NASA based on designs and tests already completed as part of the now-cancelled Constellation program, development for which began in 2005 as the Crew Exploration Vehicle. The MPCV was announced by NASA on 24 May 2011. The MPCV's debut unmanned multi-hour test flight, known as Exploration Flight Test 1 (EFT-1), is scheduled for a launch aboard a Delta IV Heavy rocket in 2014. The first manned mission is expected to take place after 2020.
Each Orion spacecraft is projected to carry a crew of four astronauts. The spacecraft was originally designed to be launched by the Ares I launch vehicle. On 11 October 2010, with the cancellation of the Constellation Program, the Ares program ended and development of the original Orion vehicle was retooled into the MPCV, planned to be launched on top of an alternative Space Launch System. The Obama Administration's proposed cancellation of the Constellation program began in February 2010 and was signed into law 11 October.