I found this OUTSTANDING video from NASA on the Orion manned spacecraft - "Orion: From Factory to Flight". The video shows many aspects of the testing and building of America's next generation manned spaceflight vehicle.
One aspect of Orion that is unique from all other American manned spacecraft is that Orion is designed to go to multiple destinations. Orion is built to go beyond Low Earth Orbit (LEO) but can operate inLEO. Coupled with the appropriate launch vehicle configuration (yet to be built) Orion can go to the Moon, asteroids and Mars orbit. That is very impressive when you consider that each prior spacecraft - Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Space Shuttle - had a singular purpose/destination.
The first Orion unmanned spaceflight is set for sometime 2014. The last water drop tests have been completed at NASA Langley, VA - see photo below - and work is going forward on other flight test/manufacture milestones.
I so wanted us to return to the Moon's surface again but I look forward to seeing astronauts on their way to someplace other than LEO someday.
Got 7 minutes? You owe it to yourself to see this video and then dream a little of the future while watching the night sky with the Moon and planets beckoning us.
See the Video: http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/videogallery/index.html?collection_id=64681&media_id=125642591
Sky Guy in VA