Have you always wanted to make your mark on another planet but don’t feel that you could complete the grueling physical tests required to become an astronaut? From now until October 31st, NASA is giving you your chance by allowing anyone to add their name to the Orion spacecraft’s test and future flights as it paves the way for human exploration on the red planet.
Orion is NASA’s first step in a big push to get humans landed on Mars. From their official Orion site:
NASA’s Orion spacecraft is built to take humans farther than they’ve ever gone before. Orion will serve as the exploration vehicle that will carry the crew to space, provide emergency abort capability, sustain the crew during the space travel, and provide safe re-entry from deep space return velocities.
Orion’s first flight test, called Exploration Flight Test-1, will launch this year atop a Delta IV Heavy rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 37. This test will evaluate launch and high speed re-entry systems such as avionics, attitude control, parachutes and the heat shield.
In the future, Orion will launch on NASA’s new heavy-lift rocket, the Space Launch System. More powerful than any rocket ever built, SLS will be capable of sending humans to deep space destinations such as an asteroid and eventually Mars. Exploration Mission-1, scheduled for 2017, will be the first mission to integrate Orion and the Space Launch System.
The process of sending your boarding pass to space will take the information you provide, such as email, name, and zip code, then put that data into a chip on-board Orion during its various test flights and eventual flights to Mars. Your boarding pass will be completely trackable by you to allow you see just how far your name has traveled into the dark void of space. The program has just begun and spots are filling up quick to be on the initial test launch of Orion and, as you can see on the official TECHAERIS boarding pass below, it looks like the first batch of brave name explorers will be taking off on December 4th on a test flight from Cape Canaveral Florida to the Pacific Ocean and eventually ending up in California.
With NASA recently announcing that they’re officially shooting for Mars, we can expect many more of these neat little public relations stunts to get excitement drummed up before the agencies planned Mars landing date of 2030. Sure, you could call this a cheap attempt to get your email if you want, but at the very least this is something very cool for kids to use and get them excited about NASA and space in general.
If you want to be on the first test flight of the spacecraft, be sure to check out the official form and tag us on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter when you do to show it off!
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