Intel Assessment: Obama Regime’s Incompetent Response To Cyber Attacks Encouraging More Of Them

Intel Assessment: Weak Response To Breaches Will Lead To More Cyber Attacks – Washington Free beacon

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The United States will continue to suffer increasingly damaging cyber attacks against both government and private sector networks as long as there is no significant response, according to a recent U.S. intelligence community assessment.

Disclosure of the intelligence assessment, an analytical consensus of 16 U.S. spy agencies, comes as the Obama administration is debating how to respond to a major cyber attack against the Office of Personnel Management. Sensitive records on 22.1 million federal workers, including millions cleared for access to secrets, were stolen by hackers linked to China’s government.

U.S. officials familiar with the classified cyber assessment discussed its central conclusion but did not provide details.

Spokesmen for the White House and office of the director of national intelligence declined to comment.

Recent comments by President Obama and senior military and security officials, however, reflect the intelligence assessment.

Obama said during a summit in Germany June 8 that he would not disclose who conducted the OPM hack. But he said such attacks would continue.

“We have known for a long time that there are significant vulnerabilities and that these vulnerabilities are gonna accelerate as time goes by, both in systems within government and within the private sector,” the president said.

Last week, Adm. Mike Rogers, commander of the U.S. Cyber Command, said the increase in state-sponsored cyber attacks is partly the result of a perception that “there’s not a significant price to pay” for such attacks.

Privately, administration officials said the assessment appears to be an indirect criticism of the administration’s approach to cyber attacks that has emphasized diplomatic and law enforcement measures instead of counter-cyber attacks.

“The administration is expecting more attacks because they’re unwilling to do anything,” said one official. “They’re preparing for more attacks because we’re failing to deter and defend against them.”

Intelligence and cyber security experts agreed with the assessment that weak U.S. responses are encouraging more cyber attacks.

“Until we redefine warfare in the age of information, we will continue to be viciously and dangerously attacked with no consequences for those attackers,” said retired Army Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, a former Defense Intelligence Agency director.

“The extraordinary intellectual theft ongoing across the U.S.’s cyber critical infrastructure has the potential to shut down massive components of our nation’s capabilities, such as health care, energy and communications systems. This alone should scare the heck out of everyone.”

James Lewis, a cyber security expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, agreed. Lewis said the defensive approach that emphasizes closing vulnerabilities to cyber attacks is not working.

“Unless we punch back, we will continue to get hit,” Lewis said.

Lewis says that conducting retaliatory cyber strikes without starting a war is difficult but not impossible.

“There are a lot of ways to do this – leaking some party leader’s bank account could be a good start,” Lewis said. “Many people think a cyber response is the best way to signal where the lines are the other side should not cross.”

“We’re all coming to the same place – that a defensive orientation doesn’t work,” he added.

Rogers, the Cyber Command chief who has stated in the past that he favors more aggressive U.S. responses, acknowledged that the U.S. response to the OPM hack has been muted compared to the government’s highly-public response to North Korea’s damaging cyber attack in November against Sony Pictures Entertainment. The Sony hack was a failed bid by the North Koreans to derail the release of a comedy film critical of dictator Kim Jong Un.

Major incidents in recent months include the Sony attack; cyber attacks against the health care provider Anthem that compromised the records of some 80 million people; attacks against State Department and White House networks from suspected Russian government-linked hackers; the OPM hacking; and an Iranian-backed cyber attack against the Sands casino in Las Vegas.

Asked about the increase in state-sponsored attacks, Rogers said during a security conference in Colorado that one factor has been a lack of response.

Rogers earlier in congressional testimony has suggested a more muscular cyber policy that would include demonstrations and threats of retaliatory cyber attacks against hackers in a bid to create deterrence similar to the Cold War-era strategic nuclear deterrence.

In addition to more capable hackers, “you’ve got a perception, I believe, that to date there is little price to pay for engaging in some pretty aggressive behaviors,” Rogers aid.

“Whether it’s stealing intellectual property; whether it’s getting in and destroying things as we saw in the Sony attack; whether it’s going after large masses of data – OPM being the most recent but go back to the summer of ’14 and we saw a successful penetration of a large health insurance company and the extraction of most of the medical records and personal data information that they had.”

Nation states are only one part of the threat. Criminal groups also are conducting large-scale cyber attacks, Rogers said.

In November, Rogers said he argued for going public in naming North Korea’s communist regime for the Sony hack and having the president make a public statement that Pyongyang would pay a price.

Rogers said some officials in the administration favored a less public response to the Sony case.

“So one of my concerns was this time it was a movie,” Rogers said. “What if next time a nation state, a group, an individual, an actor decides I don’t like the U.S. policy, I don’t like a U.S. product, I don’t agree with this particular position taken by a company, or taken by an individual. If we start down this road, this is not a good one for us as a nation.”

Rogers said he argued strongly that “we cannot pretend that this did not happen,” and that the attack had to be linked to North Korea directly.

“My concern was if we do nothing, then one of the potential unintended consequences of this could be does this send a signal to other nation states, other groups, other actors that this kind of behavior [is okay] and that you can do this without generating any kind of response,” Rogers said.

On not naming the Chinese for the OPM hack, Rogers appears to have lost out during the administration’s debate on naming the Chinese.

“OPM is an ongoing issue,” Rogers said, adding that he would not discuss the specifics of internal discussions.

“But I would acknowledge, hey, to date the response to OPM, there’s a thought process and I’m the first to acknowledge to date we have to take a different approach.”

Asked if he agreed with doing nothing about the OPM response, Rogers suggested some action might be forthcoming.

“Just because you’re not reading something in the media does not mean that there’s not things ongoing,” he said. “So I would argue, let’s step back and see how this plays out a little bit.”

He defended the more public U.S. response to the Sony hack that included limited sanctions against North Korean agencies and officials, by noting that to date no similar cyber attacks by Pyongyang have been conducted.

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Customized 3D Printed Food Only A Decade Or Two Away, Experts Claim

Experts Predict 3D Printed Customised Food Items To Rule The Industry In Next 20 Years – 3ders

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The use of 3D printers has the potential to revolutionize the way food is manufactured within the next 10 to 20 years, experts from the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) are claiming.

According to a July 12th symposium at IFT15: Where Science Feeds Innovation hosted by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) in Chicago, advances in 3D printed technology will radically change the way food is produced, impacting everything from how military personnel get food on the battlefield to how long it takes to get a meal from the computer to your table.

“The price of 3D printers has been steadily declining, from more than USD 500,000 in the 1980s to less than USD 1,000 today for a personal-sized device, making them increasingly available to consumers and manufacturers,” researchers said.

“No matter what field you are in, this technology will worm its way in,” said Hod Lipson, a professor of engineering at Columbia University and co-author of the book Fabricated: The New World of 3D Printing.

“The technology is getting faster, cheaper and better by the minute. Food printing could be the killer app for 3D printing,” said Lipson.

For example, Lipson said, users could choose from a large online database of recipes, put a cartridge with the ingredients into their 3D printer at home, and it would create the dish just for that person.

The user could customise it to include extra nutrients or replace one ingredient with another.

Anshul Dubey, research and development senior manager at PepsiCo, said 3D printing already is having an impact within the company, even though it is not yet being used to make food.

For example, consumer focus groups were shown 3D-printed plastic prototypes of different shaped and colored potato chips. He said using a prototype such as that, instead of just a picture, elicits a more accurate response from the focus group participants.

The US military is just beginning to research similar uses for 3D food printing, but it would be used on the battlefield instead of in the kitchen, said Mary Scerra, food technologist at the US Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Centre (NSRDEC) in Massachusetts.

She said that by 2025 or 2030, the military envisions using 3D printing to customise meals for soldiers that taste good, are nutrient-dense, and could be tailored to a soldier’s particular needs.

“Imagine warfighters in remote areas – one has muscle fatigue, one has been awake for a long period without rest, one lacks calories, one needs electrolytes, and one just wants a pizza,” Scerra said.

“Wouldn’t it be interesting if they could just print and eat?” Scerra said.

She noted that there are still several hurdles to overcome, such as the cost of bringing the technology to remote areas, the logistics of making it work in those locations and, perhaps most importantly, making sure the food tastes good.

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After 9 1/2-Year, 3 Billion-Mile Journey, NASA’s New Horizons Spacecraft Reaches Pluto

NASA’s Three-Billion-Mile Journey To Pluto Reaches Historic Encounter – Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

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NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is at Pluto.

After a decade-long journey through our solar system, New Horizons made its closest approach to Pluto Tuesday, about 7,750 miles above the surface – roughly the same distance from New York to Mumbai, India – making it the first-ever space mission to explore a world so far from Earth.

“I’m delighted at this latest accomplishment by NASA, another first that demonstrates once again how the United States leads the world in space,” said John Holdren, assistant to the President for Science and Technology and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. “New Horizons is the latest in a long line of scientific accomplishments at NASA, including multiple missions orbiting and exploring the surface of Mars in advance of human visits still to come; the remarkable Kepler mission to identify Earth-like planets around stars other than our own; and the DSCOVR satellite that soon will be beaming back images of the whole Earth in near real-time from a vantage point a million miles away. As New Horizons completes its flyby of Pluto and continues deeper into the Kuiper Belt, NASA’s multifaceted journey of discovery continues.”

“The exploration of Pluto and its moons by New Horizons represents the capstone event to 50 years of planetary exploration by NASA and the United States,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “Once again we have achieved a historic first. The United States is the first nation to reach Pluto, and with this mission has completed the initial survey of our solar system, a remarkable accomplishment that no other nation can match.”

Per the plan, the spacecraft currently is in data-gathering mode and not in contact with flight controllers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physical Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland. Scientists are waiting to find out whether New Horizons “phones home,” transmitting to Earth a series of status updates that indicate the spacecraft survived the flyby and is in good health. The “call” is expected shortly after 9 p.m. tonight.

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The Pluto story began only a generation ago when young Clyde Tombaugh was tasked to look for Planet X, theorized to exist beyond the orbit of Neptune. He discovered a faint point of light that we now see as a complex and fascinating world.

“Pluto was discovered just 85 years ago by a farmer’s son from Kansas, inspired by a visionary from Boston, using a telescope in Flagstaff, Arizona,” said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “Today, science takes a great leap observing the Pluto system up close and flying into a new frontier that will help us better understand the origins of the solar system.”

New Horizons’ flyby of the dwarf planet and its five known moons is providing an up-close introduction to the solar system’s Kuiper Belt, an outer region populated by icy objects ranging in size from boulders to dwarf planets. Kuiper Belt objects, such as Pluto, preserve evidence about the early formation of the solar system.

New Horizons principal investigator Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in Boulder, Colorado, says the mission now is writing the textbook on Pluto.

“The New Horizons team is proud to have accomplished the first exploration of the Pluto system,” Stern said. “This mission has inspired people across the world with the excitement of exploration and what humankind can achieve.”

New Horizons’ almost 10-year, three-billion-mile journey to closest approach at Pluto took about one minute less than predicted when the craft was launched in January 2006. The spacecraft threaded the needle through a 36-by-57 mile (60 by 90 kilometers) window in space – the equivalent of a commercial airliner arriving no more off target than the width of a tennis ball.

Because New Horizons is the fastest spacecraft ever launched – hurtling through the Pluto system at more than 30,000 mph, a collision with a particle as small as a grain of rice could incapacitate the spacecraft. Once it reestablishes contact Tuesday night, it will take 16 months for New Horizons to send its cache of data – 10 years’ worth – back to Earth.

New Horizons is the latest in a long line of scientific accomplishments at NASA, including multiple rovers exploring the surface of Mars, the Cassini spacecraft that has revolutionized our understanding of Saturn and the Hubble Space Telescope, which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. All of this scientific research and discovery is helping to inform the agency’s plan to send American astronauts to Mars in the 2030’s.

“After nearly 15 years of planning, building, and flying the New Horizons spacecraft across the solar system, we’ve reached our goal,” said project manager Glen Fountain at APL “The bounty of what we’ve collected is about to unfold.”

APL designed, built and operates the New Horizons spacecraft and manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. SwRI leads the mission, science team, payload operations and encounter science planning. New Horizons is part of NASA’s New Frontiers Program, managed by the agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

Follow the New Horizons mission on Twitter and use the hashtag #PlutoFlyby to join the conversation. Live updates also will be available on the mission Facebook page.

For more information on the New Horizons mission, including fact sheets, schedules, video and images, visit www.nasa.gov/newhorizons.

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China’s Top Internet Provider Builds Headquarters That Look Like Starship Enterprise

Chinese Millionaire Builds Company Headquarters To Look Like The Starship Enterprise – Oddity Central

The headquarters of NetDragon Websoft – China’s most popular internet provider – looks quite conventional from the ground, but aerial footage shows that the building is actually a replica of the iconic Starship Enterprise!

NetDragon chairman Liu Dejian, a huge Star Trek fan and self-described ‘Uber Trekkie’, reportedly spent $150 million over a span of six years to construct the USS Enterprise-shaped office. When it was finally ready in 2014, he chose to remain rather low-key about it. But when a fan spotted a satellite image of the badass building – about the size of three football pitches – it eventually stirred up a social media frenzy. Drone footage was soon released online, making Star Trek fans all over the world drool with delight.

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Mashable reports that the premises looks like a mashup of the Enterprise-E, Enterprise-D, and the starship design from the J.J. Abrams reboot movies, but die hard Star Trek fans disagree – they say it looks more like the Voyager. As smashing as its exteriors are, we’re not sure if the NetDragon office mimics the Enterprise’s cool interiors as well. Some reports suggest that it has a few awesome features inside, like automatic sliding gates, 30-foot slides connecting the third floor to the first, and a giant T-Rex replica.

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Liu, whose $600 million fortune is larger than the Queen of England’s, is fondly called ‘big child’ by the Chinese media. The man is famous for indulging his employees and filling his offices with fun gadgets like pinball machines, batman toys, and segways. His obsession with Star Trek began when he was a student at the University of Kansas. So he reportedly obtained a special license from CBS, allowing him to build a replica of the spaceship.

Star Trek fans, if you aren’t able to make it to China, you can get a clear view of the office on Google Maps!

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Boeing Patents Plasma Force Field Technology

Boeing Patents ‘Star Wars’-Style Force Fields – C/Net

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A new patent granted to aircraft, defense and security company Boeing is taking its cues from science fiction. Just like the glowing energy shields seen protecting troops, machines and even spacecraft in Star Wars and Star Trek, the design – named “Method and system for shockwave attenuation via electromagnetic arc” – uses energy to deflect potential damage.

As it is described, the system is not designed to prevent direct impact from shells or shrapnel; rather, it is designed to protect a target – such as a vehicle or building – from the damaging effects of shockwaves from a nearby impact.

The patent is for a shockwave attenuation system, which consists of a sensor capable of detecting a shockwave-generating explosion and an arc generator that receives the signal from the sensor to ionise a small region, producing a plasma field between the target and the explosion using lasers, electricity and microwaves.

This small plasma field would differ from the surrounding environment in temperature, density and/or composition. This would provide a buffer between the target and the explosion that would hinder the shockwaves from reaching and damaging the target.

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“Such embodiments as described above may reduce the energy density of the shockwave by creating a second medium in the path of the advancing shockwave that reflects, refracts, absorbs and deflects at least a portion of the shockwave,” the patent reads.

Because this system heats and ionises the air, it is eminently unsuitable for enveloping a target and being held in place for any length of time. That kind of force field is technically feasible – physics students last year determined that an electromagnetic field could by used to hold a plasma shield in place – but it would likely also deflect light, leaving anyone inside blind as a bat.

You can read the full specs included in Boeing’s patent on the USPTO website.

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Successful Launch Of Orion Spacecraft First Step Towards Mars Mission (Pictures / Video)

‘Day One Of The Mars Era': Orion Test Flight That Heralds New Age Of Space Exploration Launches After Yesterday’s Technical Glitches – Daily Mail

For the first time in nearly half a century, Nasa has launched a spaceship designed to carry astronauts far beyond Earth.

Riding atop a fountain of fire, the 24-story-tall Orion spacecraft soared above the Atlantic Ocean at 12.05 GMT (07.05 ET), punching through partly cloudy skies.

The unmanned craft is now being catapulted around the Earth twice in a 4.5 hour journey, which will end 16:30 GMT (11:30 ET) when it re-enters the atmosphere at 20,000 mph (32,000 km/h).

In the future, Nasa hopes to use the spacecraft to send astronauts to an asteroid in the 2020s and ultimately take them to Mars in the 2030s.

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‘The star of the day is Orion,’ said Nasa Administrator Charles Bolden, back for the second morning in a row. He called it ‘Day one of the Mars era.’

The maiden launch of the Orion spacecraft was postponed yesterday, after a technical fault, a stray boat and poor weather conditions hampered efforts to blast into space.

However, today’s launch was described by Nasa as ‘picture perfect’ – and so far all of the separation stages have gone to plan.

As the rocket roared into orbit, cameras streamed video showing dramatic pictures of the two side boosters falling away and the curved edge of the Earth.

Nasa is aiming for a peak altitude of 3,600 miles (5,800 km) on Orion’s second lap around the planet, in order to give the capsule the necessary momentum for a scorchingly high-speed re-entry over the Pacific.

The spacecraft has travelled through Earth’s Van Allen radiation belts that protect the planet from charged particles. Scientists say this will show how well equipment tolerates radiation like that experienced on the long journey to Mars.

Just three minutes into the launch, the spacecraft was already travelling at five times the speed of sound.

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Engineers want to see how the heat shield – the largest of its kind ever built – holds up when Orion comes back through the atmosphere traveling 20,000 mph (32,200 kph)and enduring 4,000 degrees (2,200 Celsius).

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The atmosphere at Kennedy Space Center was reminiscent of the shuttle-flying days. After more than three years since the last shuttle flight, Nasa reveled in all the attention.

Launch commentator Mike Curie fed the enthusiasm in the gathered crowds, calling it ‘the dawn of Orion in a new era of American space exploration’

Mark Geyer, Orion programme manager at Nasa, said: ‘It was very good to see how well the rocket did its job and very exciting to see it go up into space.

‘Now it is actually doing the job it was designed to do. We still have a long way to go with this mission but everything is going great.

‘All the systems were on already, we have linked up to the satellites.

‘We had a few key tests to run in the first six minutes of the flight that were very important for us.

‘We jettisoned service module fairing which are there to reduce mass on the rest of Orion. This is a critical event these pyrotechnic systems and it went perfectly.

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Orion is being developed alongside the world’s most powerful rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS), which is due to make its maiden launch in 2018 or 2019.

Together, SLS and Orion will allow Nasa to send humans into deep space to destinations such as Mars.

For this launch, Orion was strapped to a Delta IV-Heavy rocket – currently the largest launch system in the world. Three RS-68 engines produced about two million pounds of thrust at lift-off.

Five and a half minutes after launch, at an altitude of around 200 miles (320km), fuel ran out on both the Delta IV’s main and booster engines.

A couple of seconds later, the entire bottom end – or the ‘first stage’ of the rocket – detached, while the second stage engine will ignited to take Orion to a higher orbit.

The upper stage’s protective fairings were then jettisoned, along with the launch abort system, which is designed to protect the astronauts in the case of an emergency during launch by carrying the capsule to safety.

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After two hours, and one orbit of Earth, the second-stage rocket will be ignited again, moving Orion up to an altitude of 3,600 miles (5,800 km).

This is 15 times the distance to the ISS and will cause Orion to travel through the high-radiation Van Allen Belts.

At three hours after lift-off, Orion will hit its peak altitude and then slowly start its descent back to Earth

The flight program has been loaded into Orion’s computers well in advance, allowing the spacecraft to fly essentially on autopilot.

It should give engineers the opportunity to check the performance of Orion’s critical heat shield, which is likely to experience temperatures in excess of 2,000ºC (4,000°F).

Its re-entry speed into the atmosphere will be close to 20,000mph (32,000km/h) – similar to the speed of the Apollo capsules that returned from the moon in the 1960s and 1970s.

The dry run, if all goes well, will end with a Pacific splashdown off Mexico’s Baja coast and Navy ships will recover the capsule for future use.

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The spacecraft is rigged with 1,200 sensors to gauge everything from heat to vibration to radiation.

Geyer said: ‘We’re going to test the riskiest parts of the mission. Ascent, entry and things like fairing separations, Launch Abort System jettison, the parachute, plus the navigation and guidance – all those things are going to be tested.

‘Plus, we’ll fly into deep space and test the radiation effects on those systems.’

A crucial test came when Orion flies flew through the Van Allen belts, which are two layers of charged particles orbiting around Earth.

‘The ISS would not have to deal with radiation but we will, and so will every vehicle that goes to the moon,’ Geyer told the BBC.

‘That’s a big issue for the computers. These processors that are now so small – they’re great for speed but they’re more susceptible to radiation.

‘That’s something we have to design for and see how it all behaves.’

Another key test was on the heat shield on Orion’s base, designed to protect the craft from the searing temperatures of atmospheric re-entry.

It is 16.5ft (five metres) across and is the biggest, most advanced of its kind ever made.

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On this flight, Orion will reach close to 2,000ºC (4,000°F), not quite the 2,800ºC (5,000ºF) that was generated from the moon missions, but close enough for a good test of the technology.

That’s why Orion will aim for a 3,600 miles (5,800 km) peak altitude to pick up enough speed to come back fast and hot with this mission, officially called Exploration Flight Test 1 (EFT-1).

Even though bears a strong resemblance to the Apollo command module that carried astronauts to the moon in the 1960s, it is bristling with the latest technology that makes it markedly different.

‘There’s an obvious comparison to draw between this first Orion launch and the first unmanned flight of the Apollo spacecraft on Apollo 4 [in 1967], but there are more differences than similarities,’ space historian Amy Teitel told MailOnline.

‘Apollo 4 flew a nearly lunar-ready command and service module, was the first flight of the Saturn V rocket, and demonstrated that both the S-IVB rocket stage and the spacecraft’s own engine could ignite in a vacuum.

‘The EFT-1 flight is only testing a spacecraft; it doesn’t even have its service module!

‘With Apollo 4, we knew we were going to the moon and it was clear this mission was putting us firmly back on that path after the major setback of the Apollo 1 fire. With Orion, we don’t have a clear goal and a firm timeline for this new spacecraft.’

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But at 11ft (3.6 metres) tall with a 16.5ft (5 metres) base, Orion is much larger than the old-time Apollo capsules, and is designed to carry four astronauts rather than three.

The earliest Orion might carry passengers is 2021; a mission to an asteroid is on the space agency’s radar sometime in the 2020s and Mars, the grand prize, in the 2030s.

‘We’re approaching this as pioneers,’ said William Hill of Nasa’s exploration systems development office.

‘We’re going out to stay eventually… It’s many, many decades away, but that’s our intent.’

However, Nasa has yet to develop the technology to carry out manned surface operations on Mars.

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By comparison, it took eight years from the time President John Kennedy announced his intentions of landing a man on the moon – before John Glenn even became the first American to orbit Earth – to Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s lunar bootprints in 1969.

Given the present budget situation, ‘it is what it is,’ said Kennedy Space Center’s director Robert Cabana, a former astronaut. And the presidential election ahead could bring further delays and uncertainties.

Lockheed Martin is handling the £236 million ($370 million) test flight, and Nasa will be overseeing its operation.

Nasa’s last trip beyond low-Earth orbit in a vessel built for people was Apollo 17 in December 1972.

‘This is just the first of what will be a long line of exploration missions beyond low Earth orbit,’ said Bill Hill, deputy associate administrator for Exploration Systems Development.

‘In a few years we will be sending our astronauts to destinations humans have never experienced. It’s thrilling to be a part of the journey now, at the beginning.’

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