NASA delays the first manned flight of its Orion Spacecraft to 2023

nasa orion delay service module
NASA announced this week that it was delaying the first manned spaceflight of its Orion spacecraft to April 2023. NASA scientists still hope to meet their original 2021 goal for Exploration Mission 2 (EM-2), but the revised date give them so breathing room if they encounter unexpected hurdles in the development of the deep space capsule.

Originally scheduled for 2021, the test flight was rescheduled after a performance review identified several potential hardware and software problems that could interfere with the agency’s ability to meet its original goal. In its report, NASA pointed to the reliance on re-used parts for its testing program as one possible cause for a delay. The current timeline does not allow additional time to replaces sensitive parts, which may fail under reuse. There also are other unknowns that may crop up during the development process. By allotting an extra two years, NASA will have ample time to respond if these unexpected issues occur during the development and testing phase.

The Orion capsule would be the first manned spacecraft to fly beyond the moon into deep space. It is designed to carry a crew of four astronauts and will be used to both explore deep space and bring supplies to the International Space Station. NASA has several missions planned for spacecraft with one successful flight completed last year. During Exploration Flight Test 1, NASA launched Orion to its highest apogee and recovered it four hours later in the ocean.

Before its first manned flight, NASA is planning  a 2018 Exploration Mission 2 (EM-2) during which an unmanned Orion capsule will fly around the moon. NASA researchers hope to use the information gleaned from these initial missions as it prepares for its first manned flight in 2023. These test flights are these stepping stones to the highly anticipated manned mission to Mars in the early 2030s.

Movies & TV

Oscar-winning FX master explains why ‘First Man’ is a giant leap for filmmaking

Paul Lambert, the Oscar-winning visual effects supervisor on First Man, reveals the innovative techniques that blended old footage with modern movie magic to make the Apollo 11 mission to the moon resonate with audiences 50 years later.

The hottest Nintendo Switch games you can get right now

The Nintendo Switch's lineup started off small, but games have steadily released as the console continues through its second year. Here are the best Nintendo Switch games available now.
Emerging Tech

Saturn didn’t always have rings, according to new analysis of Cassini data

Saturn's rings are younger than previously believed, according to new data gathered from the Cassini mission. The rings are certainly less than 100 million years old and perhaps as young as 10 million years old.

These are the best indie games you can get on PC right now

Though many indie games now come to consoles as well, there's still a much larger selection on PC. With that in mind, we've created a list of the best indie games for PC, with an emphasis on games that are only available on PC.
Emerging Tech

How long is a day on Saturn? Scientists finally have an answer

The length of Saturn's day has always been a challenge to calculate because of the planet's non-solid surface and magnetic field. But now scientists have tracked vibrations in the rings to pin down a final answer.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

Google’s radar-sensing tech could make any object smart

Computer scientists have shown how Google’s Soli sensor can be used to make dumb objects smart. Here's why radar-powered computing could finally make the dream of smart homes a reality.
Emerging Tech

Tiny microbots fold like origami to travel through the human body

Tiny robots modeled after bacteria could be used to deliver drugs to hard to reach areas of the human body. Scientists have developed elastic microbots that can change their shape depending on their environment.
Emerging Tech

Dinosaurs never stood a chance after asteroid impacts doubled 290M years ago

The number of asteroids pummeling Earth jumped dramatically around 290 million years ago. By looking at Moon craters, scientists discovered that d the number of asteroid impacts on both Earth and the Moon increased by two to three times.
Emerging Tech

Water-based fuel cell converts carbon emissions to electricity

Scientists from Korea's Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology have developed a system which can continuously produce electrical energy and hydrogen by dissolving carbon dioxide in an aqueous solution.
Emerging Tech

Scientists investigate how massive stars die in dramatic hypernova events

Our Sun will gradually fade before expanding into a red giant at the end of its life. But larger mass stars undergo extreme explosive events called hypernovas when they die which outshine their entire galaxies.
Emerging Tech

Pilotless planes are on their way, but would you fly in one?

Airbus says advancements in artificial intelligence can help it toward its goal of building a plane capable of fully autonomous flight, though whether passengers can be persuaded to travel in one is another matter entirely.
Emerging Tech

‘Tech vest’ prevents Amazon workers from colliding with robot coworkers

Amazon workers at its fulfillment centers are using "tech vests" to help protect them from collisions with their robot co-workers. The robots already have obstacle avoidance sensors, but the belt offers another layer of safety.
Emerging Tech

3D printers are finally affordable. Here are the best models under $500

3D printer prices have dropped dramatically over the past few years, but just because something is cheap doesn’t mean it’s worth buying. Here, we’ve rounded up all the cheap 3D printers that are actually worth spending your money on.