The Orion spacecraft was originally announced by President George W. Bush in 2004 as a unique Crew Exploration Vehicle similar in some respects to the original Apollo Command Module which landed on the moon in 1969. The Orion was planned to be almost 4 times as heavy as Apollo (almost 25 tons compared to 5.8 of the Apollo) and have 2.5x as much volume inside. Like the Apollo, Orion will land at sea – a capability which was already tested.
TFOT has reported on another part of the Constellation Program – the Ares I rocket – back in 2008. We also covered other spacecraft propulsion technologies, including an antimatter engine that uses positrons for fuel, a new privately developed lunar lander, an experimental supersonic combustion ramjet or scramjet, and tests of a methane-powered rocket engine.