SAN DIEGO - For the first time in a generation, NASA is building a human spacecraft designed to go farther and faster than anything before.
"We want to go to places we haven't been, like Mars or perhaps explore an asteroid and Orion is designed to do just that," said NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough.
Kimbrough and a number of NASA engineers are meeting with the crew of USS San Diego, an amphibious landing transport dock, to literally write the book on how to recover the Orion spacecraft when it returns to earth.
Taking a page out of the past, Orion, like the Apollo capsules, will land in the ocean.
"USS San Diego is so well suited for that," said Sr. Chief Justin Miller.
The ship, like others in its class, can actually flood the aft portion, allowing teams to float the capsule inside the ship for recovery.
The first test for Orion and USS San Diego in the open ocean is scheduled for February 2014, with the first unmanned flight of Orion scheduled for September 2014.