America’s human space exploration goals for the 21st Century include destinations both in low-Earth orbit to the International Space Station and deep space missions to an asteroid and even to Mars. Different exploration destinations require different systems. NASA’s Journey to Mars will take a critical step forward with the first test launch of the Orion spacecraft, which the agency will own and operate. Meanwhile, NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is spearheading the development of two commercially owned and operated space transportation systems that will give astronauts safe, reliable and cost-effective access to and from the International Space Station, where cutting edge research and technology developments are increasing our knowledge about what it takes to live and work for long periods of time in space. These new American spacecraft also will allow us to add a seventh crew member to the space station and double the amount of time the crew has to conduct research aboard the unique microgravity laboratory. Watch the video highlighting NASA’s parallel path above and hop on over to the Orion blog to follow along with all of the exciting milestones of Orion’s first test, from tanking and launch to splashdown and recovery.