US, Europe team up for moon fly-by
WASHINGTON (AFP) - The US and European space agencies on Wednesday announced a new partnership pairing a European cargo module with Nasa's Orion space capsule, which aims to take astronauts into deep space.
The new agreement covers Orion's first planned mission, set for 2017, which will take the spacecraft on an unmanned fly-by around the moon.
But Nasa has bigger goals for Orion, hoping it will one day take humans beyond low-earth orbit - for the first time since Eugene Cernan left the last footprints on the moon in 1972 - and ultimately to an asteroid and to Mars.
The US space agency said Orion's development may have started in the United States but that its final shape will be determined by an international effort.