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Well, it’s hard to tell. I think right now they’re fo­cus­ing on get­ting com­mer­cial space­craft to fly peo­ple to the space sta­tion, but in the back­ground there is a lon­grange pro­gramme with [the Space Launch Sys­tem rocket] and [the Orion space­craft] that will even­tu­ally al­low us to go be­yond Earth or­bit, like go­ing to Mars. But right now it’s not an ac­tive part of launch­ing be­cause we’re be­tween pro­grammes I guess, and so it’s go­ing to be a few years be­fore they get the lon­grange ex­plo­ration go­ing with the new space­craft. I would ex­pect it’s go­ing to be an­other 10 or 15 years be­fore we get back into the ex­plo­ration busi­ness.

Even­tu­ally we’re go­ing to have to do some­thing a lit­tle dif­fer­ent than just that gum­drop-shaped cap­sule be­cause there are some prob­lems with re-en­try and that sort of thing – you have to be very care­ful. But the day will come when we’re go­ing to have space­craft that’ll go way, way be­yond even the So­lar Sys­tem, so that’ll take a dif­fer­ent shape. But in the mean­time we’ve got Orion, which is ba­si­cally an en­larged Apollo space­craft, and it can do the next step.

“It’s go­ing to be a few years be­fore they get the long-range ex­plo­ration go­ing”

NASA is cur­rently look­ing into a re­turn to the Moon, as well as a pro­posed lu­nar gate­way

Al­fred Wor­den was the Com­mand Mod­ule pi­lot for NASA’s Apollo 15 lu­nar mis­sion

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