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Orion space capsule: NASA gets ready for 2014 test launch

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The Orion capsule, which arrived in Florida from the Michoud Assembly Facility in Louisiana last week, now sits inside Kennedy's Operations and Checkout (O&C) building. It is in here, the same high bay where more than 40 years ago NASA readied similarly-shaped capsules for launches to the moon, that Lockheed Martin engineers and technicians will conduct the final preparations to launch this Orion higher and faster than any capsule since the Apollo moon missions.

"The future is here, now," Kennedy Space Center's director Robert Cabana said. "The vehicle we see here today is not a Powerpoint chart. It is a real spacecraft moving toward a test flight in 2014." [Gallery: Orion Exploration Flight Test-1 Capsule]

Cabana said the Orion's unveiling was aptly timed since it came one day after the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy Space Center, which has been NASA's home port for manned space launches for decades.

"This is a milestone moment for the Space Coast, NASA and America's space program," Garver said. "It is a new and exciting chapter in America's great space exploration story, one that will see more discoveries, more scientific return and more people and Americans going into space and going places that have never before been visited."

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