The Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) is a planned beyond-low-Earth-orbit manned spacecraft that is being built by Lockheed Martin for NASA and Astrium for European Space Agency for crewed missions to the Moon, asteroids and Mars. It is planned to be launched by the Space Launch System. Each Orion spacecraft is projected to carry a crew of 2-6 astronauts. It is also planned as a backup for ISS cargo and crew delivery.
The MPCV was announced by NASA on 24 May 2011, aided by designs and tests already completed for a spacecraft of the cancelled Constellation program, development for which began in 2005 as the Crew Exploration Vehicle. It was formerly going to be launched by the tested-but-cancelled Ares I launch vehicle.
The MPCV’s debut unmanned multi-hour test flight, known as Exploration Flight Test 1 (EFT-1), is scheduled for a launch aboard a Delta IV Heavy rocket in 2014. The first manned mission is expected to take place after 2020. In January 2013, ESA and NASA announced that the Orion Service Module will be built by European space company Astrium for European Space Agency.