US Navy practices retrieving Orion spacecraft

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — The U.S. Navy and NASA wrapped up the second round of practice recoveries of the Orion spacecraft, which is designed to bring humans to the moon, asteroids and, eventually, to Mars.

The tests took place from Aug. 1 to Aug. 4 a few hundred miles off the coast of Baja California, Mexico, where the Orion will splash down after a 3,600-mile-long flight scheduled for Dec. 4.

Crews practiced reeling a mock-up spacecraft into the stern of the USS Anchorage.

Mark Geyer, NASA's program manager for the Orion, says the December mission will test the space capsule for an unmanned mission planned for 2017.

Geyer says that if all goes well, a 2021 mission will bring four astronauts to orbit the moon and a mission in the 2030s will bring humans to Mars.

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