ISLAMABAD: NASA is planning to carry out a test run of an unmanned craft, which is originally designed to carry humans as far away into space as the planet Mars.
The new craft, named “The Orion,” is set to launch atop a Delta IV Heavy rocket from Cape Canaveral on December 4, 2014.
“The craft will travel 3,600 miles away from Earth, orbiting the planet twice. It will re-enter Earth’s atmosphere at 20,000 mph, withstanding heat as high as 4,000 degrees,” NASA spokesman George Diller said.
The Orion spacecraft is set to land four and a half hours later with a splashdown 600 miles off the coast of San Diego in the Pacific Ocean, Diller added.
It will be a first step to carry astronauts for future long-term missions into deep space, including on journeys to Mars.