Why Do We Explore?
From the time of our birth, humans have felt a primordial urge to explore -- to blaze new trails, map new lands, and answer profound questions about ourselves and our universe.
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Stay connected with NASA's human exploration activities in and beyond low-Earth orbit.
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About the Crew Vehicle and Launch System
These programs will develop the launch and spaceflight vehicles that will provide the initial capability for crewed exploration missions beyond low-Earth orbit. In particular, the Space Launch System (SLS) program will develop the heavy lift vehicle that will launch the crew vehicle, other modules and cargo for these missions. The Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle will serve as the exploration vehicle that will carry the crew to space, provide emergency abort capability, sustain the crew during the space travel, and provide safe re-entry from deep space return velocities.
Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle
This spacecraft will serve as the primary crew vehicle for missions beyond low Earth orbit. The Orion MPCV is capable of conducting regular in-space operations (rendezvous, docking, extravehicular activity) in conjunction with payloads delivered by the Space Launch System for missions beyond low Earth orbit. The spacecraft also has the capability to be a backup system for International Space Station cargo and crew delivery.
Space Launch System
The Space Launch System (SLS) Program will develop a heavy-lift launch vehicle to expand human presence to celestial destinations beyond low Earth orbit. This launch vehicle will be capable of lifting the Orion MPCV to asteroids, the moon, Lagrange points, and ultimately for missions to Mars. It will also serve as a backup launch system for supplying and supporting the International Space Station cargo and crew requirements not met by other available launch vehicles.
Ground Systems Development and Operations Program
Building on five decades of launch and processing excellence, the Ground Systems Development and Operations Program is transforming Kennedy Space Center into a multi-user spaceport capable of accommodating a wide array of government and commercial space activities. Existing infrastructure and facilities are being modernized to support processing and launch of multiple vehicles, from NASA's next-generation rockets and spacecraft to those developed by commercial and other companies.