NASA Engineers Suit Up for Orion Spacecraft Test

James Blair/NASA(HOUSTON) -- The astronauts who will one day ride into deep space on board NASA's Orion spacecraft will need to be comfortable enough in their suits to operate the controls inside the vessel.

While those missions are many years away, engineers at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston are already evaluating how suited-up test subjects are able to interact with the rotational hand controller and cursor control device inside a mock-up of Orion.

After Orion has had some work done and becomes a fully functional spacecraft, NASA will put it through a series of tests at several of its facilities across the country.

When Orion has a stellar report card, the next step for the spacecraft will be a launch to circle the moon in 2018 and embark on its first crew mission around 2023, according to NASA.

If everything goes according to plan, Orion could ferry astronauts to an asteroid and eventually to Mars.

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