The next generation of spacecraft landed in Austin, well for a day anyway. See http://www.facebook.com/NASAMPCV
An Orion multi-purpose crew vehicle was on display outside the Texas State History Museum on Monday, June 20, 2011. The capsule is similar to the craft used in the Apollo missions.
The Orion MPCV, as it's now known, was designed and built by Lockheed Martin. This specific spacecraft was recently tested in New Mexico.
Like Apollo, Orion is meant for deep space exploration. Engineers adapted what they learned from early Apollo missions and coupled it with 40 years of advancements in technology.
Deputy Project Manager Larry Price says Orion will serve as both a replacement for the space shuttle, and will get the United States back into manned deep space exploration.
They're hoping the human touch will supplement current robotic explorations, like the two rovers that are charting Mars. The Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) is based on the Orion design requirements for traveling beyond Low Earth Orbit (LEO). The MPCV 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.