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NASA to use Moon capsule for deep space missions

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The Orion space capsule.

HOUSTON (AP): NASA has unveiled a new look and name for its previously planned Moon capsule.

The crew capsule named Orion was a cornerstone of former President George W Bush's plan to return astronauts to the Moon.

A year ago, President Barack Obama scrapped the Moon mission but saved Orion, possibly for an escape pod at the International Space Station.

Tuesday's announcement gives the spacecraft a new name -- the Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle.

NASA says the capsule will carry four astronauts on 21-day missions and will be able to land in the Pacific Ocean.

Its destination would be beyond Earth's orbit, perhaps to an asteroid.

Still in development is a giant rocket that would send the capsule away from Earth.

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NASA  Orion  Moon  
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