NASA has developed an awesome video that shows how the new Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle and the Space Launch System (SLS) in its' 70-ton configuration will launch from Pad 39B at Kennedy Space Center in the future to rendezvous with a captured and redirected asteroid.
NASA, under President Obama's established manned mission priorities, will find a suitable asteroid - see my previous blogs - to rendezvous with, capture, and redirect to an orbit near the Moon. Orion will then fly to the asteroid and conduct spacewalks to explore the space rock and return with samples to the Earth.
This exciting mission will take astronauts beyond Low Earth Orbit (LEO) for the first time since 1972. It will use new technologies and spaceflight hardware and concepts to go where we have never been before - an asteroid beyond lunar orbit.
NASA is starting the search for a suitable asteroid using the newly reactivated WISE spacecraft - see my recent blog - as well as other ground based assets. Orion is preparing for its unmanned inaugural launch in September 2014 and SLS is scheduled for launch in 2017 with an unmanned Orion capsule. The whole SLS-manned Orion stack is planned for a 2021 launch.
Read More About It and see the video/images here: http://www.nasa.gov/content/new-imagery-of-asteroid-mission/#.UhjVURYbTFK
Sky Guy in VA