NASA's new capsule at launch pad for test flight

November 12, 2014 by Marcia Dunn
The Orion Spacecraft moves by the Vehicle Assembly Building on its approximately 22 mile journey from the Launch Abort System Facility at the Kennedy Space Center to Space Launch Complex 37B at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. The test flight for Orion is scheduled to launch on Dec. 4.(AP Photo/John Raoux)

NASA's new Orion spacecraft is now at the launch pad for next month's test flight.

The spacecraft was moved 22 miles overnight at Cape Canaveral, Florida, and reached the early Wednesday. It was then hoisted into place on top of a Delta IV rocket for the Dec. 4 launch.

The will last just over four hours and propel the unmanned capsule 3,600 miles away from Earth, before returning it for a splashdown in the Pacific.

Future Orions are meant to carry astronauts on missions of deep-space exploration, including trips to Mars. Astronauts are expected to start flying on Orion in 2021. The capsules are built for four passengers, one more than the old Apollo spacecraft.

The Orion spacecraft begins its approximately 22-mile journey at the Kennedy Space Center to Space Launch Complex 37B at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Fla. on Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014. The unmanned test launch is scheduled for Dec. 4. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

The Orion Spacecraft moves by the Vehicle Assembly Building on its approximately 22 mile journey from the Launch Abort System Facility at the Kennedy Space Center to Space Launch Complex 37B at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. The test flight for Orion is scheduled to launch on Dec. 4.(AP Photo/John Raoux)

Explore further: NASA test flight still on track despite accidents (Update)

More information: NASA: www.nasa.gov/exploration/systems/orion/index.html

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