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The space shuttle's dead; long live the Orion Multi Purpose Crew Vehicle. That's the future of space travel -- the capsule that'll take astronauts deep, deep into the final frontier ... at some point in the near to very distant future. First orbital test flight's in 2014, depending on how far Zefram Cochrane gets on that whole warp drive thing.
Till then, the Orion's on wheels -- on its way from the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico (site of its 2010 launch-abort test flight) to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, with pit stops along the way in Oklahoma and Alabama. And Dallas: Says NASA, it rolls into Victory Park January 27-29, a weekend stop that make its perfect for the kiddos and those of us for whom The Right Stuff sound track is our constant companion. NASA promises: "Engineers, program officials, astronauts and NASA spokespeople will be available to speak with the media and the public." Very cool; my 8-year-old son wanted to skip school this morning just to look at photos on the NASA website. Now, if you'll excuse me.
Update at 2:27 p.m.: Josh Byerly, NASA's public affairs officer based out of the Johnson Space Center, took note of this morning's item and sends word: Shuttle astronaut Nick Patrick will be with the Orion Friday from 3 till 6 p.m., while Clay Anderson will be there 2 till 6 p.m. that Saturday. And Byerly will be around both days.