Mars ship test flight successful

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A rocket has been launched in America, carrying a test version of the US space agency’s new crew capsule, Orion.

The ship is designed eventually to take humans beyond the space station, to destinations such as the Moon and Mars.

Orion’s short flight tested important technologies, like its heat shield and parachutes.

The flight was to test how well the capsule would work. They did this by taking the small capsule to 6,000km above the surface of Earth, before releasing it to see how it re-entered into the atmosphere.

The craft ‘splashed down’ – returned to Earth – in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Mexico.

No people were on board when it blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida. 

Experts believe a human mission to Mars is still probably around 20 years away.

Artist's impression of Orion space capsuleArtist’s impression of the Orion space capsule in orbit
Graphic showing Orion's first flight

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