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Orion Returns To Kennedy Space Center In Florida

Orion spacecraft awaiting off-loading from USS Anchorage at Naval Base San Diego, December 8, 2014.
Milan Kovacevic
Orion spacecraft awaiting off-loading from USS Anchorage at Naval Base San Diego, December 8, 2014.

NASA's experimental Orion spacecraft left Florida by rocket and returned by truck.

The capsule arrived back at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Thursday. It rocketed into orbit Dec. 5, traveling 3,600 miles into space on an unmanned test flight that proved to be a great success. NASA plans to use future models to help get astronauts to Mars in coming decades.

Orion parachuted into the Pacific. It was then taken ashore to San Diego with the help of the amphibious ship USS Anchorage, the spacecraft was hauled by truck across the country.

Engineers will now begin the lengthy process of inspecting the vessel and reviewing all the data collected by sensors. The capsule was struck by micrometeoroids, but that was anticipated.

It will be 2018 before another Orion flies. This one will be reused in a launch abort test.

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