The National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) said it is working on a new capsule that will carry humans into deep space.
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said that the capsule will be based on designs originally planned for the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle. Those plans now will be used to develop a new spacecraft known as the Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV).
The Orion moon capsule, a version of which was originally approved under the Bush administration, was cancelled by the Obama administration as part of a cost-cutting measure.
We are committed to human exploration beyond low-Earth orbit and look forward to developing the next generation of systems to take us there, Bolden said in a statement.
Defense contractor Lockheed Martin will make the new capsule that will carry four astronauts for 21-day missions and be able to land in the Pacific Ocean off the California coast.
The spacecraft will have a pressurized volume of 690 cubic feet, with 316 cubic feet of habitable space. It is designed to be 10 times safer during ascent and entry than its predecessor, the space shuttle.
This selection does not indicate a business as usual mentality for NASA programs, said Douglas Cooke, associate administrator for the agency's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate in Washington. The Orion government and industry team has shown exceptional creativity in finding ways to keep costs down through management techniques, technical solutions and innovation.