This timelapse video shows the construction of the first Orion crew module, the spacecraft that will take humanity to the moon and Mars. As you can see, this version is not the full ship, as it lacks all computer, engine and support systems, not to talk about the proton torpedoes and turbolasers. However, the Apollo-style module is the first real tangible part of the Constellation Program, and will play a crucial part in its early development.

This capsule won't leave Earth's atmosphere: it will be used in a 90-second flight to demonstrate the features of the new ship, built using the same concept as the Apollo capsule but on a much larger scale. The Orion is 16.5 feet in diameter, with a mass of 22.7 metric tons, which gives it "two and a half times the volume" inside the Apollo capsule.


Knowing how small Apollo was, it's not going to be the Enterprise flight deck, but it will be able to fit four crew members comfortably starting in 2014, the year in which it will travel to the International Space Station. Six years later, it will go to the moon. [NASA]