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Rocket launch rocket take off, science technology.

Rocket launch rocket take off, science technology.

Rocket launch rocket take off, science technology.

Rocket launch rocket take off, science technology.

Landing capsule kennedy space center nasa, science technology.

Landing capsule kennedy space center nasa, science technology.

Engine usa nasa, science technology.

Engine usa nasa, science technology.

Rocket propulsion engine usa, science technology.

Rocket propulsion engine usa, science technology.

Jupiter planet big red stains.

Jupiter planet big red stains.

Sun spots sun solar flare, science technology.

Sun spots sun solar flare, science technology.

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Sun solar flare uv, science technology.

Sun solar flare uv, science technology.

Rocket launch smoke rocket, science technology.

Rocket launch smoke rocket, science technology.

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Rocket launch rocket take off, science technology.

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Sun solar flare sunlight, science technology.

Rocket launch rocket mission space travel, science technology.

Rocket launch rocket mission space travel, science technology.

Space capsule apollo program lander, science technology.

Space capsule apollo program lander, science technology.

Solar flare sunlight eruption, science technology.

Solar flare sunlight eruption, science technology.

Rocket launch rocket take off, science technology.

Rocket launch rocket take off, science technology.

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Space shuttle columbia usa.

Moscow space museum building, architecture buildings.

Moscow space museum building, architecture buildings.

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Sun solar flare sunlight, science technology.

Rocket launch rocket take off, science technology.

Rocket launch rocket take off, science technology.

Rocket launch rocket take off, science technology.

Rocket launch rocket take off, science technology.

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Cape canaveral usa space center, science technology.

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Lego aircraft space travel.

Lego aircraft space travel.

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Rocket start spaceport, science technology.

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Sun solar flare uv, science technology.

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Sun solar flare sunlight, science technology.

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Sun fireball solar flare, science technology.

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Soyuz rocket launch rocket, science technology.

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Sun solar flare sunlight, science technology.

Jupiter planet galilean monde.

Jupiter planet galilean monde.

Rocket engine nozzles engine, science technology.

Rocket engine nozzles engine, science technology.

Moon landing apollo 11 nasa, science technology.

Moon landing apollo 11 nasa, science technology.

Venera space probe venus surface, science technology.

Venera space probe venus surface, science technology.

A ground-to-air view of the space shuttle Challenger during liftoff from launch complex 39A at 7:33 a.m. EDT. Aboard the Challenger for the seventh launch of the Space Transportation System are CMDR Bob Crippen, pilot Frederick H. Hauck, and mission specialists Sally Ride, John M. Fabian and Dr. Norman Thagard

A ground-to-air view of the space shuttle Challenger during liftoff from launch complex 39A at 7:33 a.m. EDT. Aboard the Challenger for the seventh launch of the Space Transportation System are CMDR Bob Crippen, pilot Frederick H. Hauck, and mission specialists Sally Ride, John M. Fabian and Dr. Norman Thagard

The space shuttle orbiter Challenger lifts off from Complex 39A at 7:33 a.m. EDT. Aboard the seventh flight of the Space Transportation System (STS-7) are: Bob Crippen, commander; Frederick H. Hauck, pilot; and mission specialists Sally Ride, John Fabian and Dr. Norman Thagard

The space shuttle orbiter Challenger lifts off from Complex 39A at 7:33 a.m. EDT. Aboard the seventh flight of the Space Transportation System (STS-7) are: Bob Crippen, commander; Frederick H. Hauck, pilot; and mission specialists Sally Ride, John Fabian and Dr. Norman Thagard

Mission Specialist Dr. Sally Ride, the first American woman astronaut to fly in space, speaks to well-wishers upon her return from space after completing Space Transportation System Mission 7 (STS-7). With her on the platform are, from left to right, Mission Specialists Dr. Norman Thagard and John Fabian; Frederick Hauck, pilot and Robert Crippen, commander

Mission Specialist Dr. Sally Ride, the first American woman astronaut to fly in space, speaks to well-wishers upon her return from space after completing Space Transportation System Mission 7 (STS-7). With her on the platform are, from left to right, Mission Specialists Dr. Norman Thagard and John Fabian; Frederick Hauck, pilot and Robert Crippen, commander

Space shuttle Challenger astronauts greet well-wishers upon their return from space after completing Space Transportation System Mission 7 (STS-7). On the platform are, from left to right, Mission Specialists Dr. Norman Thagard, John Fabian and Dr. Sally Ride; Frederick Hauck, pilot, and Robert Crippen commander. Ride is the first American woman astronaut to fly in space

Space shuttle Challenger astronauts greet well-wishers upon their return from space after completing Space Transportation System Mission 7 (STS-7). On the platform are, from left to right, Mission Specialists Dr. Norman Thagard, John Fabian and Dr. Sally Ride; Frederick Hauck, pilot, and Robert Crippen commander. Ride is the first American woman astronaut to fly in space

STS099-S-001 (June 1999) --- The STS-99 crew members designed the flight insignia for the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM), the most ambitious Earth mapping mission to date. Two radar antennas, one located in the shuttle bay and the other located on the end of a 60-meter deployable mast, will be used during the mission to map Earth?s features. The goal is to provide a three-dimensional topographic map of the world?s surface up to the Arctic and Antarctic Circles. The clear portion of Earth illustrates the radar beams penetrating its cloudy atmosphere and the unique understanding of the home planet that is provided by space travel. The grid on Earth reflects the mapping character of the SRTM mission. The patch depicts the space shuttle Endeavour orbiting Earth in a star spangled universe. The rainbow along Earth?s horizon resembles an orbital sunrise. The crew deems the bright colors of the rainbow as symbolic of the bright future ahead because of human beings? venturing into space. The NASA insignia design for space shuttle flights is reserved for use by the astronauts and for other official use as the NASA Administrator may authorize. Public availability has been approved only in the forms of illustrations by the various news media. When and if there is any change in this policy, which is not anticipated, the change will be publicly announced. Photo credit: NASA sts099-s-001

STS099-S-001 (June 1999) --- The STS-99 crew members designed the flight insignia for the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM), the most ambitious Earth mapping mission to date. Two radar antennas, one located in the shuttle bay and the other located on the end of a 60-meter deployable mast, will be used during the mission to map Earth?s features. The goal is to provide a three-dimensional topographic map of the world?s surface up to the Arctic and Antarctic Circles. The clear portion of Earth illustrates the radar beams penetrating its cloudy atmosphere and the unique understanding of the home planet that is provided by space travel. The grid on Earth reflects the mapping character of the SRTM mission. The patch depicts the space shuttle Endeavour orbiting Earth in a star spangled universe. The rainbow along Earth?s horizon resembles an orbital sunrise. The crew deems the bright colors of the rainbow as symbolic of the bright future ahead because of human beings? venturing into space.    The NASA insignia design for space shuttle flights is reserved for use by the astronauts and for other official use as the NASA Administrator may authorize. Public availability has been approved only in the forms of illustrations by the various news media. When and if there is any change in this policy, which is not anticipated, the change will be publicly announced. Photo credit: NASA sts099-s-001

Original photo and caption dated June 22, 1988: "A dwarf wheat variety known as Yecoro Rojo flourishes in KSC's Biomass Production Chamber. Researchers are gathering information on the crop's ability to produce food, water and oxygen, and then remove carbon dioxide. The confined quarters associated with space travel require researchers to focus on smaller plants that yield proportionately large amounts of biomass. This wheat crop takes about 85 days to grow before harvest.&quot KSC-388c2096-08

Original photo and caption dated June 22, 1988: "A dwarf wheat variety known as Yecoro Rojo flourishes in KSC's Biomass Production Chamber. Researchers are gathering information on the crop's ability to produce food, water and oxygen, and then remove carbon dioxide. The confined quarters associated with space travel require researchers to focus on smaller plants that yield proportionately large amounts of biomass. This wheat crop takes about 85 days to grow before harvest.&quot KSC-388c2096-08

Early Rockets

Early Rockets

Early Rockets

Early Rockets

Early Rockets

Early Rockets

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- A media event was held on the grounds near the Press Site at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida where a Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) is on display. The MPCV is based on the Orion design requirements for traveling beyond low Earth orbit and 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. Seen here is Mark Geyer, Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle program manager speaking to media during a question-and-answer session. Photo credit: NASA/Frankie Martin KSC-2011-5112

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- A media event was held on the grounds near the Press Site at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida where a Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) is on display. The MPCV is based on the Orion design requirements for traveling beyond low Earth orbit and 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. Seen here is Mark Geyer, Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle program manager speaking to media during a question-and-answer session. Photo credit: NASA/Frankie Martin KSC-2011-5112

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- A media event was held on the grounds near the Press Site at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida where a Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) is on display. The MPCV is based on the Orion design requirements for traveling beyond low Earth orbit and 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. Seen here is Public Affairs Officer Amber Philman (center), Lori Garver, NASA deputy administrator and Mark Geyer, Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle program manager speaking to media during a question-and-answer session. Photo credit: NASA/Frankie Martin KSC-2011-5111

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- A media event was held on the grounds near the Press Site at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida where a Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) is on display. The MPCV is based on the Orion design requirements for traveling beyond low Earth orbit and 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. Seen here is Public Affairs Officer Amber Philman (center), Lori Garver, NASA deputy administrator and Mark Geyer, Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle program manager speaking to media during a question-and-answer session. Photo credit: NASA/Frankie Martin KSC-2011-5111

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- A media event was held for the Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) that was on display in a tent on the grounds of the Press Site at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida during launch activities for space shuttle Atlantis' STS-135 mission to the International Space Station. The MPCV is based on the Orion design requirements for traveling beyond low Earth orbit and 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. Atlantis began its final flight, with Commander Chris Ferguson, Pilot Doug Hurley and Mission Specialists Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim on board, at 11:29 a.m. EDT July 8 to deliver the Raffaello multi-purpose logistics module packed with supplies and spare parts to the station. Also in Atlantis' payload bay is the Robotic Refueling Mission experiment that will investigate the potential for robotically refueling existing satellites in orbit. In addition, Atlantis will return with a failed ammonia pump module to help NASA better understand the failure mechanism and improve pump designs for future systems. STS-135 is the 33rd flight of Atlantis, the 37th shuttle mission to the space station, and the 135th and final mission of NASA's Space Shuttle Program. For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/shuttlemissions/sts135/index.html. Photo credit: NASA/Jim Grossmann KSC-2011-5243

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- A media event was held for the Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) that was on display in a tent on the grounds of the Press Site at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida during launch activities for space shuttle Atlantis' STS-135 mission to the International Space Station. The MPCV is based on the Orion design requirements for traveling beyond low Earth orbit and 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.           Atlantis began its final flight, with Commander Chris Ferguson, Pilot Doug Hurley and Mission Specialists Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim on board, at 11:29 a.m. EDT July 8 to deliver the Raffaello multi-purpose logistics module packed with supplies and spare parts to the station. Also in Atlantis' payload bay is the Robotic Refueling Mission experiment that will investigate the potential for robotically refueling existing satellites in orbit. In addition, Atlantis will return with a failed ammonia pump module to help NASA better understand the failure mechanism and improve pump designs for future systems. STS-135 is the 33rd flight of Atlantis, the 37th shuttle mission to the space station, and the 135th and final mission of NASA's Space Shuttle Program. For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/shuttlemissions/sts135/index.html. Photo credit: NASA/Jim Grossmann KSC-2011-5243

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Chuck Hardison, the production and ground operations manager of The Boeing Co.'s Commercial Crew Transportation System, talks to media about plans to take NASA astronauts to the International Space Station in Orbiter Processing Facility-3 (OPF-3) at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Boeing is maturing its CST-100 spacecraft design for NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP) under the Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) activities. Boeing's current design shows the CST-100 taking up to seven astronauts and cargo to the space station or other low Earth orbit destinations by the middle of the decade. Through an agreement with NASA and Space Florida, Boeing is leasing OPF-3, the Processing Control Facility (PCC) and Space Shuttle Main Engine Shop at Kennedy to design, manufacture, process and integrate the CST-100. This work is expected to generate up to 550 engineering and technical jobs for Florida's Space Coast. Hardison explained that the CST-100 will be manufactured using a spin-form technology, which is expected to bring down the cost and safety concerns of a traditional welded spacecraft. It's innovations such as this that CCP hopes will drive down the cost of space travel as well as open up space to more people than ever before. Seven aerospace companies are maturing launch vehicle and spacecraft designs under CCDev2, including Alliant Techsystems Inc. (ATK) of Promontory, Utah, Blue Origin of Kent, Wash., The Boeing Co., of Houston, Excalibur Almaz Inc. of Houston, Sierra Nevada Corp. of Louisville, Colo., Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) of Hawthorne, Calif., and United Launch Alliance (ULA) of Centennial, Colo. For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/exploration/commercial Photo credit: Jim Grossmann KSC-2011-7884

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Chuck Hardison, the production and ground operations manager of The Boeing Co.'s Commercial Crew Transportation System, talks to media about plans to take NASA astronauts to the International Space Station in Orbiter Processing Facility-3 (OPF-3) at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Boeing is maturing its CST-100 spacecraft design for NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP) under the Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) activities. Boeing's current design shows the CST-100 taking up to seven astronauts and cargo to the space station or other low Earth orbit destinations by the middle of the decade. Through an agreement with NASA and Space Florida, Boeing is leasing OPF-3, the Processing Control Facility (PCC) and Space Shuttle Main Engine Shop at Kennedy to design, manufacture, process and integrate the CST-100. This work is expected to generate up to 550 engineering and technical jobs for Florida's Space Coast. Hardison explained that the CST-100 will be manufactured using a spin-form technology, which is expected to bring down the cost and safety concerns of a traditional welded spacecraft. It's innovations such as this that CCP hopes will drive down the cost of space travel as well as open up space to more people than ever before.       Seven aerospace companies are maturing launch vehicle and spacecraft designs under CCDev2, including Alliant Techsystems Inc. (ATK) of Promontory, Utah, Blue Origin of Kent, Wash., The Boeing Co., of Houston, Excalibur Almaz Inc. of Houston, Sierra Nevada Corp. of Louisville, Colo., Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) of Hawthorne, Calif., and United Launch Alliance (ULA) of Centennial, Colo. For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/exploration/commercial Photo credit: Jim Grossmann KSC-2011-7884

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Ed Mango, program manager for NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP), updates media on the progress of Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) activities in which seven aerospace companies are maturing launch vehicle and spacecraft systems designed to take astronauts to the International Space Station. The goal of the program is to drive down the cost of space travel as well as open up space to more people than ever before by balancing industry’s own innovative capabilities with NASA's 50 years of human spaceflight experience. Seven aerospace companies are maturing launch vehicle and spacecraft designs under CCDev2, including Alliant Techsystems Inc. (ATK) of Promontory, Utah, Blue Origin of Kent, Wash., The Boeing Co., of Houston, Excalibur Almaz Inc. of Houston, Sierra Nevada Corp. of Louisville, Colo., Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) of Hawthorne, Calif., and United Launch Alliance (ULA) of Centennial, Colo. For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/exploration/commercial Photo credit: Jim Grossmann KSC-2011-7882

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Ed Mango, program manager for NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP), updates media on the progress of Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) activities in which seven aerospace companies are maturing launch vehicle and spacecraft systems designed to take astronauts to the International Space Station. The goal of the program is to drive down the cost of space travel as well as open up space to more people than ever before by balancing industry’s own innovative capabilities with NASA's 50 years of human spaceflight experience.    Seven aerospace companies are maturing launch vehicle and spacecraft designs under CCDev2, including Alliant Techsystems Inc. (ATK) of Promontory, Utah, Blue Origin of Kent, Wash., The Boeing Co., of Houston, Excalibur Almaz Inc. of Houston, Sierra Nevada Corp. of Louisville, Colo., Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) of Hawthorne, Calif., and United Launch Alliance (ULA) of Centennial, Colo. For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/exploration/commercial Photo credit: Jim Grossmann KSC-2011-7882

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Ed Mango, program manager for NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP), updates media on the progress of Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) activities in which seven aerospace companies are maturing launch vehicle and spacecraft systems designed to take astronauts to the International Space Station. The goal of the program is to drive down the cost of space travel as well as open up space to more people than ever before by balancing industry’s own innovative capabilities with NASA's 50 years of human spaceflight experience. Seven aerospace companies are maturing launch vehicle and spacecraft designs under CCDev2, including Alliant Techsystems Inc. (ATK) of Promontory, Utah, Blue Origin of Kent, Wash., The Boeing Co., of Houston, Excalibur Almaz Inc. of Houston, Sierra Nevada Corp. of Louisville, Colo., Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) of Hawthorne, Calif., and United Launch Alliance (ULA) of Centennial, Colo. For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/exploration/commercial Photo credit: Jim Grossmann KSC-2011-7881

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Ed Mango, program manager for NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP), updates media on the progress of Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) activities in which seven aerospace companies are maturing launch vehicle and spacecraft systems designed to take astronauts to the International Space Station. The goal of the program is to drive down the cost of space travel as well as open up space to more people than ever before by balancing industry’s own innovative capabilities with NASA's 50 years of human spaceflight experience.      Seven aerospace companies are maturing launch vehicle and spacecraft designs under CCDev2, including Alliant Techsystems Inc. (ATK) of Promontory, Utah, Blue Origin of Kent, Wash., The Boeing Co., of Houston, Excalibur Almaz Inc. of Houston, Sierra Nevada Corp. of Louisville, Colo., Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) of Hawthorne, Calif., and United Launch Alliance (ULA) of Centennial, Colo. For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/exploration/commercial Photo credit: Jim Grossmann KSC-2011-7881

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- The pressurized vessel of The Boeing Co.'s Commercial Crew Transportation System, which could take NASA astronauts to the International Space Station, is on display in Orbiter Processing Facility-3 (OPF-3) at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Boeing is maturing its CST-100 spacecraft design for NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP) under the Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) activities. Boeing's current design shows the CST-100 taking up to seven astronauts and cargo to the space station or other low Earth orbit destinations by the middle of the decade. Through an agreement with NASA and Space Florida, Boeing is leasing OPF-3, the Processing Control Facility (PCC) and Space Shuttle Main Engine Shop at Kennedy to design, manufacture, process and integrate the CST-100. This work is expected to generate up to 550 engineering and technical jobs for Florida's Space Coast. Chuck Hardison, Boeing's production and ground operations manager, explained that the CST-100 will be manufactured using a spin-form technology, which is expected to bring down the cost and safety concerns of a traditional welded spacecraft. It's innovations such as this that CCP hopes will drive down the cost of space travel as well as open up space to more people than ever before. Seven aerospace companies are maturing launch vehicle and spacecraft designs under CCDev2, including Alliant Techsystems Inc. (ATK) of Promontory, Utah, Blue Origin of Kent, Wash., The Boeing Co., of Houston, Excalibur Almaz Inc. of Houston, Sierra Nevada Corp. of Louisville, Colo., Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) of Hawthorne, Calif., and United Launch Alliance (ULA) of Centennial, Colo. For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/exploration/commercial Photo credit: Jim Grossmann KSC-2011-7883

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- The pressurized vessel of The Boeing Co.'s Commercial Crew Transportation System, which could take NASA astronauts to the International Space Station, is on display in Orbiter Processing Facility-3 (OPF-3) at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Boeing is maturing its CST-100 spacecraft design for NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP) under the Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) activities. Boeing's current design shows the CST-100 taking up to seven astronauts and cargo to the space station or other low Earth orbit destinations by the middle of the decade. Through an agreement with NASA and Space Florida, Boeing is leasing OPF-3, the Processing Control Facility (PCC) and Space Shuttle Main Engine Shop at Kennedy to design, manufacture, process and integrate the CST-100. This work is expected to generate up to 550 engineering and technical jobs for Florida's Space Coast. Chuck Hardison, Boeing's production and ground operations manager, explained that the CST-100 will be manufactured using a spin-form technology, which is expected to bring down the cost and safety concerns of a traditional welded spacecraft. It's innovations such as this that CCP hopes will drive down the cost of space travel as well as open up space to more people than ever before.       Seven aerospace companies are maturing launch vehicle and spacecraft designs under CCDev2, including Alliant Techsystems Inc. (ATK) of Promontory, Utah, Blue Origin of Kent, Wash., The Boeing Co., of Houston, Excalibur Almaz Inc. of Houston, Sierra Nevada Corp. of Louisville, Colo., Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) of Hawthorne, Calif., and United Launch Alliance (ULA) of Centennial, Colo. For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/exploration/commercial Photo credit: Jim Grossmann KSC-2011-7883

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Media learn about the plans Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) has to take NASA astronauts to the International Space Station at Space Launch Complex-40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. SpaceX is working to make its Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule safe for humans for NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP) under the Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) activities. SpaceX already is developing these systems under NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation System (COTS) Program to take supplies to the space station. Scott Henderson, director of SpaceX mission assurance, explained that the company is drafting designs to make the Dragon capsule crew-capable with life support systems while meeting CCP's safety requirements. One such option under discussion is a launch abort system that would push astronauts away from the launch pad in the event of an emergency, which is different than traditional pull systems. It's the freedom to develop innovative solutions such as this that CCP hopes will drive down the cost of space travel as well as open up space to more people than ever before. CCP, which is based at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, partnered with seven aerospace companies to mature launch vehicle and spacecraft designs under CCDev2, including Alliant Techsystems Inc. (ATK) of Promontory, Utah, Blue Origin of Kent, Wash., The Boeing Co., of Houston, Excalibur Almaz Inc. of Houston, Sierra Nevada Corp. of Louisville, Colo., Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) of Hawthorne, Calif., and United Launch Alliance (ULA) of Centennial, Colo. For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/exploration/commercial Photo credit: Jim Grossmann KSC-2011-7885

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Media learn about the plans Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) has to take NASA astronauts to the International Space Station at Space Launch Complex-40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. SpaceX is working to make its Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule safe for humans for NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP) under the Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) activities. SpaceX already is developing these systems under NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation System (COTS) Program to take supplies to the space station. Scott Henderson, director of SpaceX mission assurance, explained that the company is drafting designs to make the Dragon capsule crew-capable with life support systems while meeting CCP's safety requirements. One such option under discussion is a launch abort system that would push astronauts away from the launch pad in the event of an emergency, which is  different than traditional pull systems. It's the freedom to develop innovative solutions such as this that CCP hopes will drive down the cost of space travel as well as open up space to more people than ever before.       CCP, which is based at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, partnered with seven aerospace companies to mature launch vehicle and spacecraft designs under CCDev2, including Alliant Techsystems Inc. (ATK) of Promontory, Utah, Blue Origin of Kent, Wash., The Boeing Co., of Houston, Excalibur Almaz Inc. of Houston, Sierra Nevada Corp. of Louisville, Colo., Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) of Hawthorne, Calif., and United Launch Alliance (ULA) of Centennial, Colo. For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/exploration/commercial   Photo credit: Jim Grossmann KSC-2011-7885

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- This is an artist's conception of the Dragon capsule under development by Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) of Hawthorne, Calif., for NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP). In 2011, NASA selected SpaceX during Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) activities to mature the design and development of a crew transportation system with the overall goal of accelerating a United States-led capability to the International Space Station. The goal of CCP is to drive down the cost of space travel as well as open up space to more people than ever before by balancing industry’s own innovative capabilities with NASA's 50 years of human spaceflight experience. Six other aerospace companies also are maturing launch vehicle and spacecraft designs under CCDev2, including Alliant Techsystems Inc. (ATK), The Boeing Co., Excalibur Almaz Inc., Blue Origin, Sierra Nevada, and United Launch Alliance (ULA). For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew. Image credit: Space Exploration Technologies KSC-2011-8117

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- This is an artist's conception of the Dragon capsule under development by Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) of Hawthorne, Calif., for NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP). In 2011, NASA selected SpaceX during Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) activities to mature the design and development of a crew transportation system with the overall goal of accelerating a United States-led capability to the International Space Station. The goal of CCP is to drive down the cost of space travel as well as open up space to more people than ever before by balancing industry’s own innovative capabilities with NASA's 50 years of human spaceflight experience. Six other aerospace companies also are maturing launch vehicle and spacecraft designs under CCDev2, including Alliant Techsystems Inc. (ATK), The Boeing Co., Excalibur Almaz Inc., Blue Origin, Sierra Nevada, and United Launch Alliance (ULA). For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew. Image credit: Space Exploration Technologies KSC-2011-8117

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- This is an artist's conception of the Dream Chaser spacecraft under development by Sierra Nevada of Centennial, Colo., for NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP). In 2011, NASA selected Sierra Nevada during Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) activities to mature the design and development of a crew transportation system with the overall goal of accelerating a United States-led capability to the International Space Station. The goal of CCP is to drive down the cost of space travel as well as open up space to more people than ever before by balancing industry’s own innovative capabilities with NASA's 50 years of human spaceflight experience. Six other aerospace companies also are maturing launch vehicle and spacecraft designs under CCDev2, including Alliant Techsystems Inc. (ATK), The Boeing Co., Excalibur Almaz Inc., Blue Origin, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), and United Launch Alliance (ULA). For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew. Image credit: Sierra Nevada Corp. KSC-2011-8116

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- This is an artist's conception of the Dream Chaser spacecraft under development by Sierra Nevada of Centennial, Colo., for NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP). In 2011, NASA selected Sierra Nevada during Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) activities to mature the design and development of a crew transportation system with the overall goal of accelerating a United States-led capability to the International Space Station. The goal of CCP is to drive down the cost of space travel as well as open up space to more people than ever before by balancing industry’s own innovative capabilities with NASA's 50 years of human spaceflight experience. Six other aerospace companies also are maturing launch vehicle and spacecraft designs under CCDev2, including Alliant Techsystems Inc. (ATK), The Boeing Co., Excalibur Almaz Inc., Blue Origin, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), and United Launch Alliance (ULA). For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew. Image credit: Sierra Nevada Corp. KSC-2011-8116

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- This is an artist's conception of the Liberty Launch Vehicle under development by Alliant Techsystems Inc. (ATK) of Promontory, Utah, for NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP). In 2011, NASA and ATK entered into an unfunded Space Act Agreement during Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) activities to mature the design and development of a crew transportation system with the overall goal of accelerating a United States-led capability to the International Space Station. The goal of CCP is to drive down the cost of space travel as well as open up space to more people than ever before by balancing industry’s own innovative capabilities with NASA's 50 years of human spaceflight experience. Six other aerospace companies also are maturing launch vehicle and spacecraft designs under CCDev2, including Blue Origin, The Boeing Co., Excalibur Almaz Inc., Sierra Nevada Corp., Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), and United Launch Alliance (ULA). For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew. Image credit: Alliant Techsystems Inc. KSC-2011-8113

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- This is an artist's conception of the Liberty Launch Vehicle under development by Alliant Techsystems Inc. (ATK) of Promontory, Utah, for NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP). In 2011, NASA and ATK entered into an unfunded Space Act Agreement during Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) activities to mature the design and development of a crew transportation system with the overall goal of accelerating a United States-led capability to the International Space Station. The goal of CCP is to drive down the cost of space travel as well as open up space to more people than ever before by balancing industry’s own innovative capabilities with NASA's 50 years of human spaceflight experience. Six other aerospace companies also are maturing launch vehicle and spacecraft designs under CCDev2, including Blue Origin, The Boeing Co., Excalibur Almaz Inc., Sierra Nevada Corp., Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), and United Launch Alliance (ULA). For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew. Image credit: Alliant Techsystems Inc. KSC-2011-8113

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Commercial Crew Program (CCP) Manager Ed Mango, left, and Deputy Program Manager Brent Jett host a Program Strategy Forum at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The forum was held to update industry partners about NASA's decision to use multiple, competitively awarded Space Act Agreements (SAAs) instead of an Integrated Design Contract for the agency's next phase of developing commercial space transportation system capabilities. Using SAAs instead of a contract will allow NASA to maintain multiple partners, with the flexibility to adjust technical direction, milestones and funding. The move was made so the program could adapt to dynamic budgetary circumstances while maintaining a high level of competition among transportation providers. CCP is helping to mature the design and development of a crew transportation system with the overall goal of accelerating a United States-led capability to the International Space Station. The goal of the program is to drive down the cost of space travel as well as open up space to more people than ever before by balancing industry’s own innovative capabilities with NASA's 50 years of human spaceflight experience. For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew. Photo credit: NASA/Jim Grossmann KSC-2011-8327

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Commercial Crew Program (CCP) Manager Ed Mango, left, and Deputy Program Manager Brent Jett host a Program Strategy Forum at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The forum was held to update industry partners about NASA's decision to use multiple, competitively awarded Space Act Agreements (SAAs) instead of an Integrated Design Contract for the agency's next phase of developing commercial space transportation system capabilities. Using SAAs instead of a contract will allow NASA to maintain multiple partners, with the flexibility to adjust technical direction, milestones and funding. The move was made so the program could adapt to dynamic budgetary circumstances while maintaining a high level of competition among transportation providers.    CCP is helping to mature the design and development of a crew transportation system with the overall goal of accelerating a United States-led capability to the International Space Station. The goal of the program is to drive down the cost of space travel as well as open up space to more people than ever before by balancing industry’s own innovative capabilities with NASA's 50 years of human spaceflight experience. For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew. Photo credit: NASA/Jim Grossmann KSC-2011-8327

MCGREGOR, Texas -- Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) completes a full-duration, full-thrust firing of its new SuperDraco engine prototype at the company’s Rocket Development Facility in McGregor, Texas. The firing was in preparation for the ninth milestone to be completed under SpaceX's funded Space Act Agreement (SAA) with NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP). SpaceX is working with CCP during Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) in order to mature the design and development of its Dragon spacecraft with the overall goal of accelerating a United States-led capability to the International Space Station. Eight SuperDracos would be built into the sidewalls of the Dragon capsule to carry astronauts to safety should an emergency occur during launch or ascent. The goal of CCP is to drive down the cost of space travel as well as open up space to more people than ever before by balancing industry’s own innovative capabilities with NASA's 50 years of human spaceflight experience. Six other aerospace companies also are maturing launch vehicle and spacecraft designs under CCDev2, including Alliant Techsystems Inc. (ATK), Blue Origin, The Boeing Co., Excalibur Almaz Inc., Sierra Nevada Corp. and United Launch Alliance (ULA). For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew KSC-2012-1209

MCGREGOR, Texas -- Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) completes a full-duration, full-thrust firing of its new SuperDraco engine prototype at the company’s Rocket Development Facility in McGregor, Texas. The firing was in preparation for the ninth milestone to be completed under SpaceX's funded Space Act Agreement (SAA) with NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP). SpaceX is working with CCP during Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) in order to mature the design and development of its Dragon spacecraft with the overall goal of accelerating a United States-led capability to the International Space Station. Eight SuperDracos would be built into the sidewalls of the Dragon capsule to carry astronauts to safety should an emergency occur during launch or ascent. The goal of CCP is to drive down the cost of space travel as well as open up space to more people than ever before by balancing industry’s own innovative capabilities with NASA's 50 years of human spaceflight experience. Six other aerospace companies also are maturing launch vehicle and spacecraft designs under CCDev2, including Alliant Techsystems Inc. (ATK), Blue Origin, The Boeing Co., Excalibur Almaz Inc., Sierra Nevada Corp. and United Launch Alliance (ULA). For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew KSC-2012-1209

MCGREGOR, Texas -- Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) completes a full-duration, full-thrust firing of its new SuperDraco engine prototype at the company’s Rocket Development Facility in McGregor, Texas. The firing was in preparation for the ninth milestone to be completed under SpaceX's funded Space Act Agreement (SAA) with NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP). SpaceX is working with CCP during Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) in order to mature the design and development of its Dragon spacecraft with the overall goal of accelerating a United States-led capability to the International Space Station. Eight SuperDracos would be built into the sidewalls of the Dragon capsule to carry astronauts to safety should an emergency occur during launch or ascent. The goal of CCP is to drive down the cost of space travel as well as open up space to more people than ever before by balancing industry’s own innovative capabilities with NASA's 50 years of human spaceflight experience. Six other aerospace companies also are maturing launch vehicle and spacecraft designs under CCDev2, including Alliant Techsystems Inc. (ATK), Blue Origin, The Boeing Co., Excalibur Almaz Inc., Sierra Nevada Corp. and United Launch Alliance (ULA). For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew KSC-2012-1210

MCGREGOR, Texas -- Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) completes a full-duration, full-thrust firing of its new SuperDraco engine prototype at the company’s Rocket Development Facility in McGregor, Texas. The firing was in preparation for the ninth milestone to be completed under SpaceX's funded Space Act Agreement (SAA) with NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP). SpaceX is working with CCP during Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) in order to mature the design and development of its Dragon spacecraft with the overall goal of accelerating a United States-led capability to the International Space Station. Eight SuperDracos would be built into the sidewalls of the Dragon capsule to carry astronauts to safety should an emergency occur during launch or ascent. The goal of CCP is to drive down the cost of space travel as well as open up space to more people than ever before by balancing industry’s own innovative capabilities with NASA's 50 years of human spaceflight experience. Six other aerospace companies also are maturing launch vehicle and spacecraft designs under CCDev2, including Alliant Techsystems Inc. (ATK), Blue Origin, The Boeing Co., Excalibur Almaz Inc., Sierra Nevada Corp. and United Launch Alliance (ULA). For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew KSC-2012-1210

MCGREGOR, Texas -- Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) completes a full-duration, full-thrust firing of its new SuperDraco engine prototype at the company’s Rocket Development Facility in McGregor, Texas. The firing was in preparation for the ninth milestone to be completed under SpaceX's funded Space Act Agreement (SAA) with NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP). SpaceX is working with CCP during Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) in order to mature the design and development of its Dragon spacecraft with the overall goal of accelerating a United States-led capability to the International Space Station. Eight SuperDracos would be built into the sidewalls of the Dragon capsule to carry astronauts to safety should an emergency occur during launch or ascent. The goal of CCP is to drive down the cost of space travel as well as open up space to more people than ever before by balancing industry’s own innovative capabilities with NASA's 50 years of human spaceflight experience. Six other aerospace companies also are maturing launch vehicle and spacecraft designs under CCDev2, including Alliant Techsystems Inc. (ATK), Blue Origin, The Boeing Co., Excalibur Almaz Inc., Sierra Nevada Corp. and United Launch Alliance (ULA). For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew KSC-2012-1208

MCGREGOR, Texas -- Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) completes a full-duration, full-thrust firing of its new SuperDraco engine prototype at the company’s Rocket Development Facility in McGregor, Texas. The firing was in preparation for the ninth milestone to be completed under SpaceX's funded Space Act Agreement (SAA) with NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP). SpaceX is working with CCP during Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) in order to mature the design and development of its Dragon spacecraft with the overall goal of accelerating a United States-led capability to the International Space Station. Eight SuperDracos would be built into the sidewalls of the Dragon capsule to carry astronauts to safety should an emergency occur during launch or ascent. The goal of CCP is to drive down the cost of space travel as well as open up space to more people than ever before by balancing industry’s own innovative capabilities with NASA's 50 years of human spaceflight experience. Six other aerospace companies also are maturing launch vehicle and spacecraft designs under CCDev2, including Alliant Techsystems Inc. (ATK), Blue Origin, The Boeing Co., Excalibur Almaz Inc., Sierra Nevada Corp. and United Launch Alliance (ULA). For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew KSC-2012-1208

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- This is a printable poster with NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP) logo. CCP is leading NASA's effort of accelerating a United States-led capability to the International Space Station by investing in the design and development of the aerospace industry's crew transportation systems. The goal of CCP is to drive down the cost of space travel as well as open up space to more people than ever before by balancing industry’s own innovative capabilities with NASA's 50 years of human spaceflight experience. For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew KSC-2012-1010

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- This is a printable poster with NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP) logo. CCP is leading NASA's effort of accelerating a United States-led capability to the International Space Station by investing in the design and development of the aerospace industry's crew transportation systems. The goal of CCP is to drive down the cost of space travel as well as open up space to more people than ever before by balancing industry’s own innovative capabilities with NASA's 50 years of human spaceflight experience. For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew KSC-2012-1010

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- This is an artist's conception of an Almaz capsule, the basis of Excalibur Almaz Inc.'s Human Spacecraft design. In 2011, NASA's Commercial Crew Program CCP and the Houston-based company entered into an unfunded Space Act Agreement during Commercial Crew Development Round 2 CCDev2) activities to mature the design and development of a crew transportation system with the overall goal of accelerating a United States-led capability to the International Space Station. The goal of CCP is to drive down the cost of space travel as well as open up space to more people than ever before by balancing industry’s own innovative capabilities with NASA's 50 years of human spaceflight experience. Six other aerospace companies also are maturing launch vehicle and spacecraft designs under CCDev2, including Alliant Techsystems ATK, Blue Origin, The Boeing Co., Sierra Nevada Corp., Space Exploration Technologies SpaceX, and United Launch Alliance ULA. For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew. Image credit: Excalibur Almaz Limited KSC-2012-1016

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- This is an artist's conception of an Almaz capsule, the basis of Excalibur Almaz Inc.'s Human Spacecraft design. In 2011, NASA's Commercial Crew Program CCP and the Houston-based company entered into an unfunded Space Act Agreement during Commercial Crew Development Round 2 CCDev2) activities to mature the design and development of a crew transportation system with the overall goal of accelerating a United States-led capability to the International Space Station. The goal of CCP is to drive down the cost of space travel as well as open up space to more people than ever before by balancing industry’s own innovative capabilities with NASA's 50 years of human spaceflight experience. Six other aerospace companies also are maturing launch vehicle and spacecraft designs under CCDev2, including Alliant Techsystems ATK, Blue Origin, The Boeing Co., Sierra Nevada Corp., Space Exploration Technologies SpaceX, and United Launch Alliance ULA. For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew. Image credit: Excalibur Almaz Limited KSC-2012-1016

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- This is an artist's conception of the Dream Chaser spacecraft integrated with an Atlas V rocket. Dream Chaser is under development by Sierra Nevada of Centennial, Colo., for NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP). In 2011, NASA selected Sierra Nevada during Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) activities to mature the design and development of a crew transportation system with the overall goal of accelerating a United States-led capability to the International Space Station. United Launch Alliance's Atlas V also is being considered under CCDev2. The goal of CCP is to drive down the cost of space travel as well as open up space to more people than ever before by balancing industry’s own innovative capabilities with NASA's 50 years of human spaceflight experience. Five other aerospace companies also are maturing launch vehicle and spacecraft designs under CCDev2, including Alliant Techsystems Inc. (ATK), The Boeing Co., Excalibur Almaz Inc., Blue Origin, and Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX). For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew. Image credit: Sierra Nevada Corp. KSC-2012-1015

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- This is an artist's conception of the Dream Chaser spacecraft integrated with an Atlas V rocket. Dream Chaser is under development by Sierra Nevada of Centennial, Colo., for NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP). In 2011, NASA selected Sierra Nevada during Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) activities to mature the design and development of a crew transportation system with the overall goal of accelerating a United States-led capability to the International Space Station. United Launch Alliance's Atlas V also is being considered under CCDev2. The goal of CCP is to drive down the cost of space travel as well as open up space to more people than ever before by balancing industry’s own innovative capabilities with NASA's 50 years of human spaceflight experience. Five other aerospace companies also are maturing launch vehicle and spacecraft designs under CCDev2, including Alliant Techsystems Inc. (ATK), The Boeing Co., Excalibur Almaz Inc., Blue Origin, and Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX). For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew. Image credit: Sierra Nevada Corp. KSC-2012-1015

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- This is a printable poster with NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP) logo. CCP is leading NASA's effort of accelerating a United States-led capability to the International Space Station by investing in the design and development of the aerospace industry's crew transportation systems. The goal of CCP is to drive down the cost of space travel as well as open up space to more people than ever before by balancing industry’s own innovative capabilities with NASA's 50 years of human spaceflight experience. For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew KSC-2012-1011

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- This is a printable poster with NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP) logo. CCP is leading NASA's effort of accelerating a United States-led capability to the International Space Station by investing in the design and development of the aerospace industry's crew transportation systems. The goal of CCP is to drive down the cost of space travel as well as open up space to more people than ever before by balancing industry’s own innovative capabilities with NASA's 50 years of human spaceflight experience. For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew KSC-2012-1011

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- This is a printable poster of the aerospace companies NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP) entered into Space Act Agreements with during Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) activities in 2011 in order to mature the design and development of crew transportation systems with the overall goal of accelerating a United States-led capability to the International Space Station. CCDev2 companies are Alliant Techsystems (ATK), Blue Origin, The Boeing Co., Excalibur Almaz Inc., Sierra Nevada Corp., Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), and United Launch Alliance (ULA). The goal of CCP is to drive down the cost of space travel as well as open up space to more people than ever before by balancing industry’s own innovative capabilities with NASA's 50 years of human spaceflight experience. For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew KSC-2012-1012

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- This is a printable poster of the aerospace companies NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP) entered into Space Act Agreements with during Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) activities in 2011 in order to mature the design and development of crew transportation systems with the overall goal of accelerating a United States-led capability to the International Space Station. CCDev2 companies are Alliant Techsystems (ATK), Blue Origin, The Boeing Co., Excalibur Almaz Inc., Sierra Nevada Corp., Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), and United Launch Alliance (ULA). The goal of CCP is to drive down the cost of space travel as well as open up space to more people than ever before by balancing industry’s own innovative capabilities with NASA's 50 years of human spaceflight experience. For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew KSC-2012-1012

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- This is a printable banner of the aerospace companies NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP) entered into Space Act Agreements with during Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) activities in 2011 in order to mature the design and development of crew transportation systems with the overall goal of accelerating a United States-led capability to the International Space Station. CCDev2 companies are Alliant Techsystems (ATK), Blue Origin, The Boeing Co., Excalibur Almaz Inc., Sierra Nevada Corp., Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), and United Launch Alliance (ULA). The goal of CCP is to drive down the cost of space travel as well as open up space to more people than ever before by balancing industry’s own innovative capabilities with NASA's 50 years of human spaceflight experience. For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew KSC-2012-1009

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- This is a printable banner of the aerospace companies NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP) entered into Space Act Agreements with during Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) activities in 2011 in order to mature the design and development of crew transportation systems with the overall goal of accelerating a United States-led capability to the International Space Station. CCDev2 companies are Alliant Techsystems (ATK), Blue Origin, The Boeing Co., Excalibur Almaz Inc., Sierra Nevada Corp., Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), and United Launch Alliance (ULA). The goal of CCP is to drive down the cost of space travel as well as open up space to more people than ever before by balancing industry’s own innovative capabilities with NASA's 50 years of human spaceflight experience. For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew KSC-2012-1009

HAWTHORNE, Calif. -- NASA astronauts and industry experts are monitored while they check out the crew accommodations in the Dragon spacecraft under development by Space Exploration Technologies SpaceX of Hawthorne, Calif., for the agency's Commercial Crew Program. In 2011, NASA selected SpaceX during Commercial Crew Development Round 2 CCDev2) activities to mature the design and development of a crew transportation system with the overall goal of accelerating a United States-led capability to the International Space Station. The goal of CCP is to drive down the cost of space travel as well as open up space to more people than ever before by balancing industry’s own innovative capabilities with NASA's 50 years of human spaceflight experience. Six other aerospace companies also are maturing launch vehicle and spacecraft designs under CCDev2, including Alliant Techsystems Inc. ATK, The Boeing Co., Excalibur Almaz Inc., Blue Origin, Sierra Nevada, and United Launch Alliance ULA. For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew. Image credit: Space Exploration Technologies KSC-2012-1825

HAWTHORNE, Calif. -- NASA astronauts and industry experts are monitored while they check out the crew accommodations in the Dragon spacecraft under development by Space Exploration Technologies SpaceX of Hawthorne, Calif., for the agency's Commercial Crew Program. In 2011, NASA selected SpaceX during Commercial Crew Development Round 2 CCDev2) activities to mature the design and development of a crew transportation system with the overall goal of accelerating a United States-led capability to the International Space Station. The goal of CCP is to drive down the cost of space travel as well as open up space to more people than ever before by balancing industry’s own innovative capabilities with NASA's 50 years of human spaceflight experience. Six other aerospace companies also are maturing launch vehicle and spacecraft designs under CCDev2, including Alliant Techsystems Inc. ATK, The Boeing Co., Excalibur Almaz Inc., Blue Origin, Sierra Nevada, and United Launch Alliance ULA. For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew. Image credit: Space Exploration Technologies KSC-2012-1825

HAWTHORNE, Calif. -- NASA astronaut Rex Walheim checks out the Dragon spacecraft under development by Space Exploration Technologies SpaceX of Hawthorne, Calif., for the agency's Commercial Crew Program. In 2011, NASA selected SpaceX during Commercial Crew Development Round 2 CCDev2) activities to mature the design and development of a crew transportation system with the overall goal of accelerating a United States-led capability to the International Space Station. The goal of CCP is to drive down the cost of space travel as well as open up space to more people than ever before by balancing industry’s own innovative capabilities with NASA's 50 years of human spaceflight experience. Six other aerospace companies also are maturing launch vehicle and spacecraft designs under CCDev2, including Alliant Techsystems Inc. ATK, The Boeing Co., Excalibur Almaz Inc., Blue Origin, Sierra Nevada, and United Launch Alliance ULA. For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew. Image credit: Space Exploration Technologies KSC-2012-1826

HAWTHORNE, Calif. -- NASA astronaut Rex Walheim checks out the Dragon spacecraft under development by Space Exploration Technologies SpaceX of Hawthorne, Calif., for the agency's Commercial Crew Program. In 2011, NASA selected SpaceX during Commercial Crew Development Round 2 CCDev2) activities to mature the design and development of a crew transportation system with the overall goal of accelerating a United States-led capability to the International Space Station. The goal of CCP is to drive down the cost of space travel as well as open up space to more people than ever before by balancing industry’s own innovative capabilities with NASA's 50 years of human spaceflight experience. Six other aerospace companies also are maturing launch vehicle and spacecraft designs under CCDev2, including Alliant Techsystems Inc. ATK, The Boeing Co., Excalibur Almaz Inc., Blue Origin, Sierra Nevada, and United Launch Alliance ULA. For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew. Image credit: Space Exploration Technologies KSC-2012-1826

HAWTHORNE, Calif. -- NASA astronauts and industry experts check out the crew accommodations in the Dragon spacecraft under development by Space Exploration Technologies SpaceX of Hawthorne, Calif., for the agency's Commercial Crew Program. On top, from left, are NASA Crew Survival Engineering Team Lead Dustin Gohmert, NASA astronauts Tony Antonelli and Lee Archambault, and SpaceX Mission Operations Engineer Laura Crabtree. On bottom, from left, are SpaceX Thermal Engineer Brenda Hernandez and NASA astronauts Rex Walheim and Tim Kopra. In 2011, NASA selected SpaceX during Commercial Crew Development Round 2 CCDev2) activities to mature the design and development of a crew transportation system with the overall goal of accelerating a United States-led capability to the International Space Station. The goal of CCP is to drive down the cost of space travel as well as open up space to more people than ever before by balancing industry’s own innovative capabilities with NASA's 50 years of human spaceflight experience. Six other aerospace companies also are maturing launch vehicle and spacecraft designs under CCDev2, including Alliant Techsystems Inc. ATK, The Boeing Co., Excalibur Almaz Inc., Blue Origin, Sierra Nevada, and United Launch Alliance ULA. For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew. Image credit: Space Exploration Technologies KSC-2012-1824

HAWTHORNE, Calif. -- NASA astronauts and industry experts check out the crew accommodations in the Dragon spacecraft under development by Space Exploration Technologies SpaceX of Hawthorne, Calif., for the agency's Commercial Crew Program. On top, from left, are NASA Crew Survival Engineering Team Lead Dustin Gohmert, NASA astronauts Tony Antonelli and Lee Archambault, and SpaceX Mission Operations Engineer Laura Crabtree. On bottom, from left, are SpaceX Thermal Engineer Brenda Hernandez and NASA astronauts Rex Walheim and Tim Kopra. In 2011, NASA selected SpaceX during Commercial Crew Development Round 2 CCDev2) activities to mature the design and development of a crew transportation system with the overall goal of accelerating a United States-led capability to the International Space Station. The goal of CCP is to drive down the cost of space travel as well as open up space to more people than ever before by balancing industry’s own innovative capabilities with NASA's 50 years of human spaceflight experience. Six other aerospace companies also are maturing launch vehicle and spacecraft designs under CCDev2, including Alliant Techsystems Inc. ATK, The Boeing Co., Excalibur Almaz Inc., Blue Origin, Sierra Nevada, and United Launch Alliance ULA. For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew. Image credit: Space Exploration Technologies KSC-2012-1824

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Commercial Crew Program (CCP) Manager Ed Mango, left, and Deputy Program Manager Brent Jett host a Program Strategy Forum at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The forum was held to update industry partners about NASA's next phase of developing commercial space transportation system capabilities. CCP is helping to mature the design and development of a crew transportation system with the overall goal of accelerating a United States-led capability to the International Space Station. The goal of the program is to drive down the cost of space travel as well as open up space to more people than ever before by balancing industry’s own innovative capabilities with NASA's 50 years of human spaceflight experience. For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2012-1265

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Commercial Crew Program (CCP) Manager Ed Mango, left, and Deputy Program Manager Brent Jett host a Program Strategy Forum at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The forum was held to update industry partners about NASA's next phase of developing commercial space transportation system capabilities.     CCP is helping to mature the design and development of a crew transportation system with the overall goal of accelerating a United States-led capability to the International Space Station. The goal of the program is to drive down the cost of space travel as well as open up space to more people than ever before by balancing industry’s own innovative capabilities with NASA's 50 years of human spaceflight experience. For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew.  Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2012-1265

Orion / Space Launch System: NASA has selected the design of a new Space Launch System SLS that will take the agency's astronauts farther into space than ever before and provide the cornerstone for America's future human space exploration efforts. The SLS will launch human crews beyond low Earth orbit in the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle. Orion is America’s next generation spacecraft. It will serve as the exploration vehicle that will provide emergency abort capability, sustain the crew during space travel, carry the crew to distant planetary bodies, and provide safe return from deep space. Poster designed by Kennedy Space Center Graphics Department/Greg Lee. Credit: NASA KSC-2012-1865

Orion / Space Launch System: NASA has selected the design of a new Space Launch System SLS that will take the agency's astronauts farther into space than ever before and provide the cornerstone for America's future human space exploration efforts. The SLS will launch human crews beyond low Earth orbit in the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle. Orion is America’s next generation spacecraft. It will serve as the exploration vehicle that will provide emergency abort capability, sustain the crew during space travel, carry the crew to distant planetary bodies, and provide safe return from deep space. Poster designed by Kennedy Space Center Graphics Department/Greg Lee. Credit: NASA KSC-2012-1865

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Former Mercury astronaut Scott Carpenter, left, and former Kennedy Space Center directors Jay Honeycutt, Bob Crippen, Forrest McCartney and Roy Bridges listen during a luncheon Feb. 17, 2012, celebrating 50 years of Americans in orbit, an era which began with Glenn's Mercury mission MA-6, on Feb. 20, 1962. Glenn's launch aboard an Atlas rocket took with it the hopes of an entire nation and ushered in a new era of space travel that eventually led to Americans walking on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Glenn soon was followed into orbit by Scott Carpenter, Walter Schirra and Gordon Cooper. Their fellow Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and Virgil "Gus" Grissom flew earlier suborbital flights. Deke Slayton, a member of NASA's original Mercury 7 astronauts, was grounded by a medical condition until the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2012-1419

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Former Mercury astronaut Scott Carpenter, left, and former Kennedy Space Center directors Jay Honeycutt, Bob Crippen, Forrest McCartney and Roy Bridges listen during a luncheon Feb. 17, 2012, celebrating 50 years of Americans in orbit, an era which began with Glenn's Mercury mission MA-6, on Feb. 20, 1962.  Glenn's launch aboard an Atlas rocket took with it the hopes of an entire nation and ushered in a new era of space travel that eventually led to Americans walking on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Glenn soon was followed into orbit by Scott Carpenter, Walter Schirra and Gordon Cooper. Their fellow Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and Virgil "Gus" Grissom flew earlier suborbital flights. Deke Slayton, a member of NASA's original Mercury 7 astronauts, was grounded by a medical condition until the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2012-1419

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. --Mercury astronauts John Glenn, left, and Scott Carpenter sit in front of the plot board from the Mercury control center on display at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida. The astronaut, part of the original class of seven astronauts chosen by NASA, was taking part in a question-and-answer session with the media as part of events celebrating 50 years of Americans in orbit, an era which began with John Glenn's Mercury mission MA-6, on Feb. 20, 1962. Glenn's launch aboard an Atlas rocket took with it the hopes of an entire nation and ushered in a new era of space travel that eventually led to Americans walking on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Glenn soon was followed into orbit by Carpenter, Walter Schirra and Gordon Cooper. Their fellow Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and Virgil "Gus" Grissom flew earlier suborbital flights. Deke Slayton was grounded by a medical condition until the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2012-1437

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. --Mercury astronauts John Glenn, left, and Scott Carpenter sit in front of the plot board from the Mercury control center on display at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida. The astronaut, part of the original class of seven astronauts chosen by NASA, was taking part in a question-and-answer session with the media as part of events celebrating 50 years of Americans in orbit, an era which began with John Glenn's Mercury mission MA-6, on Feb. 20, 1962.  Glenn's launch aboard an Atlas rocket took with it the hopes of an entire nation and ushered in a new era of space travel that eventually led to Americans walking on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Glenn soon was followed into orbit by Carpenter, Walter Schirra and Gordon Cooper. Their fellow Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and Virgil "Gus" Grissom flew earlier suborbital flights. Deke Slayton was grounded by a medical condition until the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2012-1437

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Mercury astronaut Scott Carpenter sits in front of the plot board from the Mercury control center on display at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida. The astronaut, part of the original class of seven astronauts chosen by NASA, was taking part in a question-and-answer session with the media as part of events celebrating 50 years of Americans in orbit, an era which began with John Glenn's Mercury mission MA-6, on Feb. 20, 1962. Glenn's launch aboard an Atlas rocket took with it the hopes of an entire nation and ushered in a new era of space travel that eventually led to Americans walking on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Glenn soon was followed into orbit by Carpenter, Walter Schirra and Gordon Cooper. Their fellow Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and Virgil "Gus" Grissom flew earlier suborbital flights. Deke Slayton was grounded by a medical condition until the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2012-1436

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Mercury astronaut Scott Carpenter sits in front of the plot board from the Mercury control center on display at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida. The astronaut, part of the original class of seven astronauts chosen by NASA, was taking part in a question-and-answer session with the media as part of events celebrating 50 years of Americans in orbit, an era which began with John Glenn's Mercury mission MA-6, on Feb. 20, 1962.  Glenn's launch aboard an Atlas rocket took with it the hopes of an entire nation and ushered in a new era of space travel that eventually led to Americans walking on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Glenn soon was followed into orbit by Carpenter, Walter Schirra and Gordon Cooper. Their fellow Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and Virgil "Gus" Grissom flew earlier suborbital flights. Deke Slayton was grounded by a medical condition until the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2012-1436

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Mercury astronauts John Glenn, left, and Scott Carpenter sit in front of the plot board from the Mercury control center on display at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. The astronauts, part of the original class of seven astronauts chosen by NASA, were taking part in a question-and-answer session with the media as part of events celebrating 50 years of Americans in orbit, an era which began with John Glenn's Mercury mission MA-6, on Feb. 20, 1962. Glenn's launch aboard an Atlas rocket took with it the hopes of an entire nation and ushered in a new era of space travel that eventually led to Americans walking on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Glenn soon was followed into orbit by Carpenter, Walter Schirra and Gordon Cooper. Their fellow Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and Virgil "Gus" Grissom flew earlier suborbital flights. Deke Slayton was grounded by a medical condition until the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2012-1440

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Mercury astronauts John Glenn, left, and Scott Carpenter sit in front of the plot board from the Mercury control center on display at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. The astronauts, part of the original class of seven astronauts chosen by NASA, were taking part in a question-and-answer session with the media as part of events celebrating 50 years of Americans in orbit, an era which began with John Glenn's Mercury mission MA-6, on Feb. 20, 1962.  Glenn's launch aboard an Atlas rocket took with it the hopes of an entire nation and ushered in a new era of space travel that eventually led to Americans walking on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Glenn soon was followed into orbit by Carpenter, Walter Schirra and Gordon Cooper. Their fellow Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and Virgil "Gus" Grissom flew earlier suborbital flights. Deke Slayton was grounded by a medical condition until the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2012-1440

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana, from left, Mercury astronaut John Glenn, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and Mercury astronaut Scott Carpenter pose during a luncheon Feb. 17, 2012, celebrating 50 years of Americans in orbit, an era which began with Glenn's Mercury mission MA-6, on Feb. 20, 1962. Glenn's launch aboard an Atlas rocket took with it the hopes of an entire nation and ushered in a new era of space travel that eventually led to Americans walking on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Glenn soon was followed into orbit by Scott Carpenter, Walter Schirra and Gordon Cooper. Their fellow Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and Virgil "Gus" Grissom flew earlier suborbital flights. Deke Slayton, a member of NASA's original Mercury 7 astronauts, was grounded by a medical condition until the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2012-1427

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana, from left, Mercury astronaut John Glenn, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and Mercury astronaut Scott Carpenter pose during a luncheon Feb. 17, 2012, celebrating 50 years of Americans in orbit, an era which began with Glenn's Mercury mission MA-6, on Feb. 20, 1962.  Glenn's launch aboard an Atlas rocket took with it the hopes of an entire nation and ushered in a new era of space travel that eventually led to Americans walking on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Glenn soon was followed into orbit by Scott Carpenter, Walter Schirra and Gordon Cooper. Their fellow Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and Virgil "Gus" Grissom flew earlier suborbital flights. Deke Slayton, a member of NASA's original Mercury 7 astronauts, was grounded by a medical condition until the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2012-1427

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Mercury astronaut John Glenn, left, talks with Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana during a luncheon Feb. 17, 2012, celebrating 50 years of Americans in orbit, an era which began with Glenn's Mercury mission MA-6, on Feb. 20, 1962. Glenn's launch aboard an Atlas rocket took with it the hopes of an entire nation and ushered in a new era of space travel that eventually led to Americans walking on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Glenn soon was followed into orbit by Scott Carpenter, Walter Schirra and Gordon Cooper. Their fellow Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and Virgil "Gus" Grissom flew earlier suborbital flights. Deke Slayton, a member of NASA's original Mercury 7 astronauts, was grounded by a medical condition until the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2012-1428

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Mercury astronaut John Glenn, left, talks with Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana during a luncheon Feb. 17, 2012, celebrating 50 years of Americans in orbit, an era which began with Glenn's Mercury mission MA-6, on Feb. 20, 1962.  Glenn's launch aboard an Atlas rocket took with it the hopes of an entire nation and ushered in a new era of space travel that eventually led to Americans walking on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Glenn soon was followed into orbit by Scott Carpenter, Walter Schirra and Gordon Cooper. Their fellow Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and Virgil "Gus" Grissom flew earlier suborbital flights. Deke Slayton, a member of NASA's original Mercury 7 astronauts, was grounded by a medical condition until the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2012-1428

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, left, talks with astronaut John Glenn following a luncheon Feb. 17, 2012, celebrating 50 years of Americans in orbit, an era which began with Glenn's Mercury mission MA-6, on Feb. 20, 1962. Glenn's launch aboard an Atlas rocket took with it the hopes of an entire nation and ushered in a new era of space travel that eventually led to Americans walking on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Glenn soon was followed into orbit by Scott Carpenter, Walter Schirra and Gordon Cooper. Their fellow Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and Virgil "Gus" Grissom flew earlier suborbital flights. Deke Slayton, a member of NASA's original Mercury 7 astronauts, was grounded by a medical condition until the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2012-1431

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, left, talks with astronaut John Glenn following a luncheon Feb. 17, 2012, celebrating 50 years of Americans in orbit, an era which began with Glenn's Mercury mission MA-6, on Feb. 20, 1962.  Glenn's launch aboard an Atlas rocket took with it the hopes of an entire nation and ushered in a new era of space travel that eventually led to Americans walking on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Glenn soon was followed into orbit by Scott Carpenter, Walter Schirra and Gordon Cooper. Their fellow Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and Virgil "Gus" Grissom flew earlier suborbital flights. Deke Slayton, a member of NASA's original Mercury 7 astronauts, was grounded by a medical condition until the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2012-1431

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Ed Mango, program manager of NASA's Commercial Crew Program, left, talks with astronaut John Glenn, center and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden before a luncheon Feb. 17, 2012, celebrating 50 years of Americans in orbit, an era which began with Glenn's Mercury mission MA-6, on Feb. 20, 1962. Glenn's launch aboard an Atlas rocket took with it the hopes of an entire nation and ushered in a new era of space travel that eventually led to Americans walking on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Glenn soon was followed into orbit by Scott Carpenter, Walter Schirra and Gordon Cooper. Their fellow Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and Virgil "Gus" Grissom flew earlier suborbital flights. Deke Slayton, a member of NASA's original Mercury 7 astronauts, was grounded by a medical condition until the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2012-1417

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Ed Mango, program manager of NASA's Commercial Crew Program, left, talks with astronaut John Glenn, center and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden before a luncheon Feb. 17, 2012, celebrating 50 years of Americans in orbit, an era which began with Glenn's Mercury mission MA-6, on Feb. 20, 1962.  Glenn's launch aboard an Atlas rocket took with it the hopes of an entire nation and ushered in a new era of space travel that eventually led to Americans walking on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Glenn soon was followed into orbit by Scott Carpenter, Walter Schirra and Gordon Cooper. Their fellow Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and Virgil "Gus" Grissom flew earlier suborbital flights. Deke Slayton, a member of NASA's original Mercury 7 astronauts, was grounded by a medical condition until the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2012-1417

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- The international news media takes part in a question-and-answer session with Mercury astronauts John Glenn and Scott Carpenter at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida. The astronauts, part of the original class of seven astronauts chosen by NASA, were taking part in events celebrating 50 years of Americans in orbit, an era which began with John Glenn's Mercury mission MA-6, on Feb. 20, 1962. Glenn's launch aboard an Atlas rocket took with it the hopes of an entire nation and ushered in a new era of space travel that eventually led to Americans walking on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Glenn soon was followed into orbit by Carpenter, Walter Schirra and Gordon Cooper. Their fellow Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and Virgil "Gus" Grissom flew earlier suborbital flights. Deke Slayton was grounded by a medical condition until the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2012-1438

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- The international news media takes part in a question-and-answer session with Mercury astronauts John Glenn and Scott Carpenter at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida. The astronauts, part of the original class of seven astronauts chosen by NASA, were taking part in events celebrating 50 years of Americans in orbit, an era which began with John Glenn's Mercury mission MA-6, on Feb. 20, 1962.  Glenn's launch aboard an Atlas rocket took with it the hopes of an entire nation and ushered in a new era of space travel that eventually led to Americans walking on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Glenn soon was followed into orbit by Carpenter, Walter Schirra and Gordon Cooper. Their fellow Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and Virgil "Gus" Grissom flew earlier suborbital flights. Deke Slayton was grounded by a medical condition until the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2012-1438

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -Annie Glenn, left, astronaut John Glenn and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden take part in a luncheon Feb. 17, 2012, celebrating 50 years of Americans in orbit, an era which began with Glenn's Mercury mission MA-6, on Feb. 20, 1962. Glenn's launch aboard an Atlas rocket took with it the hopes of an entire nation and ushered in a new era of space travel that eventually led to Americans walking on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Glenn soon was followed into orbit by Scott Carpenter, Walter Schirra and Gordon Cooper. Their fellow Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and Virgil "Gus" Grissom flew earlier suborbital flights. Deke Slayton, a member of NASA's original Mercury 7 astronauts, was grounded by a medical condition until the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2012-1422

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -Annie Glenn, left, astronaut John Glenn and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden take part in a luncheon Feb. 17, 2012, celebrating 50 years of Americans in orbit, an era which began with Glenn's Mercury mission MA-6, on Feb. 20, 1962.  Glenn's launch aboard an Atlas rocket took with it the hopes of an entire nation and ushered in a new era of space travel that eventually led to Americans walking on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Glenn soon was followed into orbit by Scott Carpenter, Walter Schirra and Gordon Cooper. Their fellow Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and Virgil "Gus" Grissom flew earlier suborbital flights. Deke Slayton, a member of NASA's original Mercury 7 astronauts, was grounded by a medical condition until the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2012-1422

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana, standing, speaks during a luncheon Feb. 17, 2012, celebrating 50 years of Americans in orbit, an era which began with Glenn's Mercury mission MA-6, on Feb. 20, 1962. Glenn's launch aboard an Atlas rocket took with it the hopes of an entire nation and ushered in a new era of space travel that eventually led to Americans walking on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Glenn soon was followed into orbit by Scott Carpenter, Walter Schirra and Gordon Cooper. Their fellow Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and Virgil "Gus" Grissom flew earlier suborbital flights. Deke Slayton, a member of NASA's original Mercury 7 astronauts, was grounded by a medical condition until the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2012-1418

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana, standing, speaks during a luncheon Feb. 17, 2012, celebrating 50 years of Americans in orbit, an era which began with Glenn's Mercury mission MA-6, on Feb. 20, 1962.  Glenn's launch aboard an Atlas rocket took with it the hopes of an entire nation and ushered in a new era of space travel that eventually led to Americans walking on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Glenn soon was followed into orbit by Scott Carpenter, Walter Schirra and Gordon Cooper. Their fellow Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and Virgil "Gus" Grissom flew earlier suborbital flights. Deke Slayton, a member of NASA's original Mercury 7 astronauts, was grounded by a medical condition until the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2012-1418

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Lisa Malone, left, director of Public Affairs at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, talks with Mercury astronauts John Glenn, center, and Scott Carpenter in front of the plot board from the Mercury control center on display at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. The astronauts, part of the original class of seven astronauts chosen by NASA, were taking part in a question-and-answer session with the media as part of events celebrating 50 years of Americans in orbit, an era which began with John Glenn's Mercury mission MA-6, on Feb. 20, 1962. Glenn's launch aboard an Atlas rocket took with it the hopes of an entire nation and ushered in a new era of space travel that eventually led to Americans walking on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Glenn soon was followed into orbit by Carpenter, Walter Schirra and Gordon Cooper. Their fellow Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and Virgil "Gus" Grissom flew earlier suborbital flights. Deke Slayton was grounded by a medical condition until the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2012-1439

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Lisa Malone, left, director of Public Affairs at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, talks with Mercury astronauts John Glenn, center, and Scott Carpenter in front of the plot board from the Mercury control center on display at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. The astronauts, part of the original class of seven astronauts chosen by NASA, were taking part in a question-and-answer session with the media as part of events celebrating 50 years of Americans in orbit, an era which began with John Glenn's Mercury mission MA-6, on Feb. 20, 1962.  Glenn's launch aboard an Atlas rocket took with it the hopes of an entire nation and ushered in a new era of space travel that eventually led to Americans walking on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Glenn soon was followed into orbit by Carpenter, Walter Schirra and Gordon Cooper. Their fellow Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and Virgil "Gus" Grissom flew earlier suborbital flights. Deke Slayton was grounded by a medical condition until the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2012-1439

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Former Kennedy Space Center directors Forrest McCartney and Roy Bridges join Annie Glenn, astronaut John Glenn and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden during a luncheon Feb. 17, 2012, celebrating 50 years of Americans in orbit, an era which began with Glenn's Mercury mission MA-6, on Feb. 20, 1962. Glenn's launch aboard an Atlas rocket took with it the hopes of an entire nation and ushered in a new era of space travel that eventually led to Americans walking on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Glenn soon was followed into orbit by Scott Carpenter, Walter Schirra and Gordon Cooper. Their fellow Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and Virgil "Gus" Grissom flew earlier suborbital flights. Deke Slayton, a member of NASA's original Mercury 7 astronauts, was grounded by a medical condition until the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2012-1424

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Former Kennedy Space Center directors Forrest McCartney and Roy Bridges join Annie Glenn, astronaut John Glenn and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden during a luncheon Feb. 17, 2012, celebrating 50 years of Americans in orbit, an era which began with Glenn's Mercury mission MA-6, on Feb. 20, 1962.  Glenn's launch aboard an Atlas rocket took with it the hopes of an entire nation and ushered in a new era of space travel that eventually led to Americans walking on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Glenn soon was followed into orbit by Scott Carpenter, Walter Schirra and Gordon Cooper. Their fellow Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and Virgil "Gus" Grissom flew earlier suborbital flights. Deke Slayton, a member of NASA's original Mercury 7 astronauts, was grounded by a medical condition until the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2012-1424

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Mercury astronaut Scott Carpenter signs a poster celebrating 50 years of Americans in orbit, an era which began with Glenn's Mercury mission MA-6, on Feb. 20, 1962. Glenn's launch aboard an Atlas rocket took with it the hopes of an entire nation and ushered in a new era of space travel that eventually led to Americans walking on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Glenn soon was followed into orbit by Scott Carpenter, Walter Schirra and Gordon Cooper. Their fellow Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and Virgil "Gus" Grissom flew earlier suborbital flights. Deke Slayton, a member of NASA's original Mercury 7 astronauts, was grounded by a medical condition until the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2012-1433

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Mercury astronaut Scott Carpenter signs a poster celebrating 50 years of Americans in orbit, an era which began with Glenn's Mercury mission MA-6, on Feb. 20, 1962.  Glenn's launch aboard an Atlas rocket took with it the hopes of an entire nation and ushered in a new era of space travel that eventually led to Americans walking on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Glenn soon was followed into orbit by Scott Carpenter, Walter Schirra and Gordon Cooper. Their fellow Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and Virgil "Gus" Grissom flew earlier suborbital flights. Deke Slayton, a member of NASA's original Mercury 7 astronauts, was grounded by a medical condition until the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2012-1433

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Mercury astronaut John Glenn and his wife, Annie, pose during a luncheon Feb. 17, 2012, celebrating 50 years of Americans in orbit, an era which began with Glenn's Mercury mission MA-6, on Feb. 20, 1962. Glenn's launch aboard an Atlas rocket took with it the hopes of an entire nation and ushered in a new era of space travel that eventually led to Americans walking on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Glenn soon was followed into orbit by Scott Carpenter, Walter Schirra and Gordon Cooper. Their fellow Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and Virgil "Gus" Grissom flew earlier suborbital flights. Deke Slayton, a member of NASA's original Mercury 7 astronauts, was grounded by a medical condition until the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2012-1429

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Mercury astronaut John Glenn and his wife, Annie, pose during a luncheon Feb. 17, 2012, celebrating 50 years of Americans in orbit, an era which began with Glenn's Mercury mission MA-6, on Feb. 20, 1962.  Glenn's launch aboard an Atlas rocket took with it the hopes of an entire nation and ushered in a new era of space travel that eventually led to Americans walking on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Glenn soon was followed into orbit by Scott Carpenter, Walter Schirra and Gordon Cooper. Their fellow Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and Virgil "Gus" Grissom flew earlier suborbital flights. Deke Slayton, a member of NASA's original Mercury 7 astronauts, was grounded by a medical condition until the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2012-1429

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, left, shares a laugh with astronaut John Glenn before a luncheon Feb. 17, 2012, celebrating 50 years of Americans in orbit, an era which began with Glenn's Mercury mission MA-6, on Feb. 20, 1962. Glenn's launch aboard an Atlas rocket took with it the hopes of an entire nation and ushered in a new era of space travel that eventually led to Americans walking on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Glenn soon was followed into orbit by Scott Carpenter, Walter Schirra and Gordon Cooper. Their fellow Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and Virgil "Gus" Grissom flew earlier suborbital flights. Deke Slayton, a member of NASA's original Mercury 7 astronauts, was grounded by a medical condition until the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2012-1416

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, left, shares a laugh with astronaut John Glenn before a luncheon Feb. 17, 2012, celebrating 50 years of Americans in orbit, an era which began with Glenn's Mercury mission MA-6, on Feb. 20, 1962.  Glenn's launch aboard an Atlas rocket took with it the hopes of an entire nation and ushered in a new era of space travel that eventually led to Americans walking on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Glenn soon was followed into orbit by Scott Carpenter, Walter Schirra and Gordon Cooper. Their fellow Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and Virgil "Gus" Grissom flew earlier suborbital flights. Deke Slayton, a member of NASA's original Mercury 7 astronauts, was grounded by a medical condition until the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2012-1416

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Former Kennedy Space Center directors Jay Honeycutt, left, Roy Bridges and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden talk with astronaut John Glenn before a luncheon Feb. 17, 2012 celebrating 50 years of Americans in orbit, an era which began with Glenn's Mercury mission MA-6, on Feb. 20, 1962. Glenn's launch aboard an Atlas rocket took with it the hopes of an entire nation and ushered in a new era of space travel that eventually led to Americans walking on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Glenn soon was followed into orbit by Scott Carpenter, Walter Schirra and Gordon Cooper. Their fellow Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and Virgil "Gus" Grissom flew earlier suborbital flights. Deke Slayton, a member of NASA's original Mercury 7 astronauts, was grounded by a medical condition until the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2012-1414

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Former Kennedy Space Center directors Jay Honeycutt, left, Roy Bridges and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden talk with astronaut John Glenn before a luncheon Feb. 17, 2012 celebrating 50 years of Americans in orbit, an era which began with Glenn's Mercury mission MA-6, on Feb. 20, 1962.  Glenn's launch aboard an Atlas rocket took with it the hopes of an entire nation and ushered in a new era of space travel that eventually led to Americans walking on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Glenn soon was followed into orbit by Scott Carpenter, Walter Schirra and Gordon Cooper. Their fellow Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and Virgil "Gus" Grissom flew earlier suborbital flights. Deke Slayton, a member of NASA's original Mercury 7 astronauts, was grounded by a medical condition until the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2012-1414

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Mercury astronaut John Glenn signs a poster celebrating 50 years of Americans in orbit, an era which began with Glenn's Mercury mission MA-6, on Feb. 20, 1962. Glenn's launch aboard an Atlas rocket took with it the hopes of an entire nation and ushered in a new era of space travel that eventually led to Americans walking on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Glenn soon was followed into orbit by Scott Carpenter, Walter Schirra and Gordon Cooper. Their fellow Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and Virgil "Gus" Grissom flew earlier suborbital flights. Deke Slayton, a member of NASA's original Mercury 7 astronauts, was grounded by a medical condition until the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2012-1432

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Mercury astronaut John Glenn signs a poster celebrating 50 years of Americans in orbit, an era which began with Glenn's Mercury mission MA-6, on Feb. 20, 1962.  Glenn's launch aboard an Atlas rocket took with it the hopes of an entire nation and ushered in a new era of space travel that eventually led to Americans walking on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Glenn soon was followed into orbit by Scott Carpenter, Walter Schirra and Gordon Cooper. Their fellow Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and Virgil "Gus" Grissom flew earlier suborbital flights. Deke Slayton, a member of NASA's original Mercury 7 astronauts, was grounded by a medical condition until the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2012-1432

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, left, talks with astronaut John Glenn and his wife, Annie Glenn, before a luncheon Feb. 17, 2012, celebrating 50 years of Americans in orbit, an era which began with Glenn's Mercury mission MA-6, on Feb. 20, 1962. Glenn's launch aboard an Atlas rocket took with it the hopes of an entire nation and ushered in a new era of space travel that eventually led to Americans walking on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Glenn soon was followed into orbit by Scott Carpenter, Walter Schirra and Gordon Cooper. Their fellow Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and Virgil "Gus" Grissom flew earlier suborbital flights. Deke Slayton, a member of NASA's original Mercury 7 astronauts, was grounded by a medical condition until the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2012-1415

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, left, talks with astronaut John Glenn and his wife, Annie Glenn, before a luncheon Feb. 17, 2012, celebrating 50 years of Americans in orbit, an era which began with Glenn's Mercury mission MA-6, on Feb. 20, 1962.  Glenn's launch aboard an Atlas rocket took with it the hopes of an entire nation and ushered in a new era of space travel that eventually led to Americans walking on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Glenn soon was followed into orbit by Scott Carpenter, Walter Schirra and Gordon Cooper. Their fellow Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and Virgil "Gus" Grissom flew earlier suborbital flights. Deke Slayton, a member of NASA's original Mercury 7 astronauts, was grounded by a medical condition until the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2012-1415

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Former Kennedy Space Center directors Jay Honeycutt, left, and Bob Crippen, right, talk during a luncheon Feb. 17, 2012, celebrating 50 years of Americans in orbit, an era which began with Glenn's Mercury mission MA-6, on Feb. 20, 1962. Glenn's launch aboard an Atlas rocket took with it the hopes of an entire nation and ushered in a new era of space travel that eventually led to Americans walking on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Glenn soon was followed into orbit by Scott Carpenter, Walter Schirra and Gordon Cooper. Their fellow Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and Virgil "Gus" Grissom flew earlier suborbital flights. Deke Slayton, a member of NASA's original Mercury 7 astronauts, was grounded by a medical condition until the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2012-1413

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Former Kennedy Space Center directors Jay Honeycutt, left, and Bob Crippen, right, talk during a luncheon Feb. 17, 2012, celebrating 50 years of Americans in orbit, an era which began with Glenn's Mercury mission MA-6, on Feb. 20, 1962.  Glenn's launch aboard an Atlas rocket took with it the hopes of an entire nation and ushered in a new era of space travel that eventually led to Americans walking on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Glenn soon was followed into orbit by Scott Carpenter, Walter Schirra and Gordon Cooper. Their fellow Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and Virgil "Gus" Grissom flew earlier suborbital flights. Deke Slayton, a member of NASA's original Mercury 7 astronauts, was grounded by a medical condition until the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2012-1413

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Mercury astronauts John Glenn, left, and Scott Carpenter sit in front of the plot board from the Mercury control center on display at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. The astronauts, part of the original class of seven astronauts chosen by NASA, were taking part in a question-and-answer session with the media as part of events celebrating 50 years of Americans in orbit, an era which began with John Glenn's Mercury mission MA-6, on Feb. 20, 1962. Glenn's launch aboard an Atlas rocket took with it the hopes of an entire nation and ushered in a new era of space travel that eventually led to Americans walking on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Glenn soon was followed into orbit by Carpenter, Walter Schirra and Gordon Cooper. Their fellow Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and Virgil "Gus" Grissom flew earlier suborbital flights. Deke Slayton was grounded by a medical condition until the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2012-1441

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Mercury astronauts John Glenn, left, and Scott Carpenter sit in front of the plot board from the Mercury control center on display at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. The astronauts, part of the original class of seven astronauts chosen by NASA, were taking part in a question-and-answer session with the media as part of events celebrating 50 years of Americans in orbit, an era which began with John Glenn's Mercury mission MA-6, on Feb. 20, 1962.  Glenn's launch aboard an Atlas rocket took with it the hopes of an entire nation and ushered in a new era of space travel that eventually led to Americans walking on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Glenn soon was followed into orbit by Carpenter, Walter Schirra and Gordon Cooper. Their fellow Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and Virgil "Gus" Grissom flew earlier suborbital flights. Deke Slayton was grounded by a medical condition until the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2012-1441

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Mercury astronauts Scott Carpenter, left, and John Glenn sit in front of a capsule from the Mercury program on display at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida. The two astronauts, part of the original class of seven astronauts chosen by NASA, were taking part in events celebrating 50 years of Americans in orbit, an era which began with Glenn's Mercury mission MA-6, on Feb. 20, 1962. Glenn's launch aboard an Atlas rocket took with it the hopes of an entire nation and ushered in a new era of space travel that eventually led to Americans walking on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Glenn soon was followed into orbit by Carpenter, Walter Schirra and Gordon Cooper. Their fellow Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and Virgil "Gus" Grissom flew earlier suborbital flights. Deke Slayton was grounded by a medical condition until the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2012-1434

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Mercury astronauts Scott Carpenter, left, and John Glenn sit in front of a capsule from the Mercury program on display at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida. The two astronauts, part of the original class of seven astronauts chosen by NASA, were taking part in events celebrating 50 years of Americans in orbit, an era which began with Glenn's Mercury mission MA-6, on Feb. 20, 1962.  Glenn's launch aboard an Atlas rocket took with it the hopes of an entire nation and ushered in a new era of space travel that eventually led to Americans walking on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Glenn soon was followed into orbit by Carpenter, Walter Schirra and Gordon Cooper. Their fellow Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and Virgil "Gus" Grissom flew earlier suborbital flights. Deke Slayton was grounded by a medical condition until the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2012-1434

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Mercury astronauts John Glenn, left, and Scott Carpenter pose during a luncheon Feb. 17, 2012, celebrating 50 years of Americans in orbit, an era which began with Glenn's Mercury mission MA-6, on Feb. 20, 1962. Glenn's launch aboard an Atlas rocket took with it the hopes of an entire nation and ushered in a new era of space travel that eventually led to Americans walking on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Glenn soon was followed into orbit by Scott Carpenter, Walter Schirra and Gordon Cooper. Their fellow Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and Virgil "Gus" Grissom flew earlier suborbital flights. Deke Slayton, a member of NASA's original Mercury 7 astronauts, was grounded by a medical condition until the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2012-1426

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Mercury astronauts John Glenn, left, and Scott Carpenter pose during a luncheon Feb. 17, 2012, celebrating 50 years of Americans in orbit, an era which began with Glenn's Mercury mission MA-6, on Feb. 20, 1962.  Glenn's launch aboard an Atlas rocket took with it the hopes of an entire nation and ushered in a new era of space travel that eventually led to Americans walking on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Glenn soon was followed into orbit by Scott Carpenter, Walter Schirra and Gordon Cooper. Their fellow Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and Virgil "Gus" Grissom flew earlier suborbital flights. Deke Slayton, a member of NASA's original Mercury 7 astronauts, was grounded by a medical condition until the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2012-1426

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Former Kennedy Space Center directors Forrest McCartney, from left, Bob Crippen, Jay Honeycutt and Roy Bridges stand with current Kennedy director Bob Cabana, Mercury astronauts John Glenn and Scott Carpenter and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden during a luncheon Feb. 17, 2012, celebrating 50 years of Americans in orbit, an era which began with Glenn's Mercury mission MA-6, on Feb. 20, 1962. Glenn's launch aboard an Atlas rocket took with it the hopes of an entire nation and ushered in a new era of space travel that eventually led to Americans walking on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Glenn soon was followed into orbit by Scott Carpenter, Walter Schirra and Gordon Cooper. Their fellow Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and Virgil "Gus" Grissom flew earlier suborbital flights. Deke Slayton, a member of NASA's original Mercury 7 astronauts, was grounded by a medical condition until the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2012-1425

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Former Kennedy Space Center directors Forrest McCartney, from left, Bob Crippen, Jay Honeycutt and Roy Bridges stand with current Kennedy director Bob Cabana, Mercury astronauts John Glenn and Scott Carpenter and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden during a luncheon Feb. 17, 2012, celebrating 50 years of Americans in orbit, an era which began with Glenn's Mercury mission MA-6, on Feb. 20, 1962.  Glenn's launch aboard an Atlas rocket took with it the hopes of an entire nation and ushered in a new era of space travel that eventually led to Americans walking on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Glenn soon was followed into orbit by Scott Carpenter, Walter Schirra and Gordon Cooper. Their fellow Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and Virgil "Gus" Grissom flew earlier suborbital flights. Deke Slayton, a member of NASA's original Mercury 7 astronauts, was grounded by a medical condition until the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2012-1425