The Verge reports that the first manned flight planned for the Orion crew capsule has been delayed, and is now slated to take place in 2023, rather than the previously hoped-for 2021. The delay is based on both budget and design considerations; Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for human exploration at NASA, said at a press conference yesterday that several changes have been made to save weight in the capsule, including reducing the number of panels that make up the craft's cone. The article notes So far, Orion has met most of its major milestones. The spacecraft made its first uncrewed test flight in December 2014. The engineering team also recently demonstrated the Orion could land safely despite the failure of two of its parachutes. NASA hopes to eventually launch the Orion on top of the Space Launch System (SLS) — a giant rocket the space agency is currently building to go beyond lower Earth orbit. The plan is to send astronauts on the Orion to Mars sometime in the 2030s.
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