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Mars spacecraft’s first missions face delays, says NASA

WASHINGTON: NASA will probably delay the first two missions of its Orion deep-space capsule, being developed to send astronauts beyond earth's orbit and eventually to Mars, the US space agency said. A report by NASA's Office of Inspector General cited technical as well as budget challenges. The first launch of the Orion spacecraft atop the planned Space Launch System, or SLS -- set to become the world's most powerful rocket when it flies -- is currently scheduled for early November 2018 with no crew. A second…

NASA mulls putting astronauts on deep space test flight

MIAMI: The US space agency said it is considering putting astronauts on an upcoming test flight of the deep space capsule Orion as it aims to orbit the Moon. Orion is being built with an eye to one day ferrying astronauts to Earth's neighboring planet, Mars, perhaps by the 2030s. Until now, the Orion test flight known as Exploration Mission 1 (EM-1) was scheduled for 2018 and was expected to be unmanned. But NASA's acting administrator Robert Lightfoot asked on February 15 for the space agency to study the feasibility of…