NASA, Europeans uniting to send spaceship to moon

The moon, asteroids and Mars are all destinations on the new Orion space craft's bucket list.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.  — NASA is teaming up with the European Space Agency to get astronauts beyond Earth's orbit.

Officials said Wednesday that Europe will provide the propulsion and power compartment for NASA's new Orion crew capsule. This so-called service module will be first used on an unmanned mission in 2017. Any extra European parts will be incorporated in the first manned mission of Orion in 2021.

NASA's human exploration chief, Bill Gerstenmaier, said both missions will be aimed at the vicinity of the moon. The exact details are being worked out.

NASA wants to ultimately use Orion spacecraft to carry astronauts to asteroids and Mars. Gerstenmaier says international cooperation will be crucial for such endeavors. He says the International Space Station helped build the foundation.

-----------


MSN News on Facebook and Twitter

Stay up to date on breaking news and current events.

Friend us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/news.msn

Follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/msnnews