A Note To Parents: We make every effort for Roxanne's blog to be a SAFE site for children. Whenever possible, activities are in pdf format or link to safe sites for children. Please feel free to use the information in these posts for homeschool studies! All rights reserved by author and nature photographer, Virginia Parker Staat.

Monday, March 10, 2014

What's Next for NASA?

Atlantis Space Shuttle courtesy NASA
It was a sad day for America when the space shuttles retired.  They were magnificent flying machines.  They were the first flying machines that went into orbit and returned to earth.  We learned so much when the space shuttles flew.

Now our wonderful space shuttles are in museums.  After 30 years of service, in July 2011, the last shuttle flight flew to the International Space Station.  The Atlantis space shuttle astronauts gave a flag to the crew on the International Space Station.  It was an American flag that flew on the first space shuttle.  It will return home on America's next spacecraft.  (To read more about the flag, just click here:  Star Spangled Banner in Space.)

When and what will be America's next spacecraft?  NASA is working on many different ways for America to get back into space, including the Orion spacecraft.

Orion will combine the best of the space shuttle and the Apollo moon mission spacecraft.  It will be able to supply the International Space Station or travel to Mars.  Orion will take astronauts deep into space and bring them safely back to earth.

Orion spacecraft courtesy NASA
Orion's first test mission is scheduled for September 2014.  NASA plans a four-hour test flight from Cape Canaveral in Florida.  One day, Orion flights may fly from Houston's Ellington field near Space Center Houston.  It will be exciting to see America back in space!!!

For more information about Orion, just click here:  Orion vehicle

Here's an Orion activity page for you:  Orion Activity Sheet

Here's a paper model of the Orion spacecraft that you can build:  Orion paper model

Here's a coloring page for the Orion spacecraft:  Orion coloring page

If you would like to build a paper space shuttle, just click here:  Space Shuttle Glider

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