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Orion Spacecraft Could Propel Future Space Travel Into Next Frontier

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The Orion spacecraft built by Lockheed Martin in Jefferson County. (credit: CBS)

The Orion spacecraft built by Lockheed Martin in Jefferson County. (credit: CBS)

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)- Lockheed Martin in Jefferson County has been busy designing a new spacecraft. They tested part of it on Friday.

Orion is something different that engineers working on the project are excited about.

“It’s really exciting to be a part of this,” said Lockheed Martin Propulsion Engineer Heather McKay. “When I think about kids, they’re not going to remember the shuttle, they’re going to remember what came next, and that’s Orion. To be a part of that and to be a part of history is really exciting.”

Last year, President Obama cancelled plans to send Orion to the moon. But project managers insist there are still other potential missions for the spacecraft.

On Friday, technicians attached heavy lift equipment to the spacecraft.

Beginning Monday, engineers will begin acoustic testing on Orion to verify that the spacecraft is strong enough to handle the noise of a launch.

Sen. Mark Udall, D- Colorado, came to see and support the project.

Orion carries a price tag of $4.5 billion. Udall said the project is vital to preserving quality jobs in Colorado.

“Of course I worry about cuts that would damage the program. Every part of the federal government needs to be scrubbed for smart spending cuts,” said Udall. “I think there’s a way to do this and you’ll see me advocate for keeping Orion not only alive and well, but nuture it in ways that make sense.”

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