There's been a lot of talk of things coming to an end
at NASA lately
, but there are also some new beginnings, and the space agency has now officially filled in one big gap. It's announced that the so-called Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (or MPCV) will be its go-to space exploration vehicle for missions beyond Low Earth Orbit -- presumably, the individual spacecraft will get names more up to the level of boldly-named vehicles like Endeavor and Atlantis. If it looks a little familiar, that's because the MPCV will be based on the Orion spacecraft
that was developed under the now-canceled Constellation program
and, like it, it will be built by Lockheed Martin. Once it's put into service, the spacecraft will be capable of carrying four astronauts on missions up to 21 days, and it could even be used as a backup for cargo and crew delivery to the ISS. To actually get into space, it'll blast off atop a heavy lift rocket, and then splash down Apollo-style in the Pacific Ocean. Head on past the break for NASA's official announcement.