The shuttle's successors

With four commercial companies working on projects to take astronauts to the International Space Station, Nasa is free to focus on journeys further into space, this is where the MPCV or Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle comes in.

Diagram showing details of the Multi-purpose crew vehicle

"We are committed to human exploration beyond low-Earth orbit"

Charles Bolden, Nasa

Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle

  • Unknown launch date
  • Unknown launch vehicle
  • 4 total crew capacity
  • $5bn Nasa funding so far
  • Sea landings with parachutes

The craft could be involved in missions to visit asteroids by the 2020s and Mars by the 2030s.

It will be able to take four astronauts on missions lasting up to 21 days. The MPCV is based on the uncompleted Orion spacecraft - a key part of the Constellation space programme launched by then US President George W Bush but cancelled by his successor Barack Obama because of its cost.

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