Behind the scenes at NASA Michoud: Assembly of the Orion Crew Modules


NEW ORLEANS — The first thing nearly everyone says when they see the Orion Crew Module is, “it looks just like an Apollo!”

Tim Livingston has heard it many times, but he says, “The Crew Module is much more advanced than the old command module back on Apollo. It’s about a third larger, will carry four astronauts out to orbit, and it’s gonna be what we use for deep space exploration.”

The goal? A trip to Mars.

Using parts and pieces from all around the country, Lockheed Martin is assembling the Orion Crew Modules. Assembly is taking place at the Michoud Assembly Facility, in New Orleans.

Later this year, the very first Orion Crew Module will lift off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on a test flight. No astronauts will be on board for this flight.

A second Orion capsule is scheduled to orbit the moon in 2023, with astronauts on board.

The third Orion capsule is projected to land three men and the first woman on the moon in 2024.

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