Exploration Mission 2

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Exploration Mission 2
Operator NASA
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft type Orion MPCV
Start of mission
Launch date no later than April 2023[1]
Rocket SLS Block 1B[2]
Launch site Kennedy LC-39B[3]
End of mission
Landing site Pacific Ocean[4]
Orion logo.png
Beyond Low Earth Orbit Program
← EM-1 EM-3

The Exploration Mission 2 or EM-2 is scheduled to be the first crewed mission of NASA's Orion on the Space Launch System. The mission is to restart manned exploration of the Solar System. NASA plans to launch in 2023[1][5] with a crew to perform a practice flyby of a captured asteroid in lunar orbit.[6] This mission is expected to be the first time Americans will have have left low Earth orbit since Apollo 17 in December 1972.


An earlier (First Crewed, 2016) proposal for a manned, free-return Orion mission to the Moon's sphere of influence, similar to the trajectory of Apollo 8, with the addition of a HEO intermediate step. No Moon landing is involved and the reentry is direct.

EM-2 is a single-launch mission of a Space Launch System Block IB with an Exploration Upper Stage, lunar Block 1 Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) and a payload insertion of 50.7 t. It would be a ten- to fourteen-day mission with a crew of four astronauts who would spend four days in lunar orbit. Its current description is "Crewed mission to enter lunar orbit, test critical mission events, and perform operations in relevant environments". The target for EM-2, as of 2015, might be to perform a flyby of a captured asteroid in lunar orbit, to be conducted in 2023.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 NASA delays Orion capsule's first manned flight until 2023
  2. Bergin, Chris (23 February 2012). "Acronyms to Ascent – SLS managers create development milestone roadmap". NASASpaceflight.com. Retrieved 14 July 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Hill, Bill (March 2012). "Exploration Systems Development Status" (PDF). NASA Advisory Council. Retrieved 21 July 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Bergin, Chris (14 June 2012). "NASA teams evaluating ISS-built Exploration Platform roadmap". NASASpaceflight.com. Retrieved 21 July 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "NASA Announces Next Steps on Journey to Mars: Progress on Asteroid Initiative". NASA. March 25, 2015. Retrieved March 25, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Foust, Jeff (March 25, 2015). "NASA Selects Boulder Option for Asteroid Redirect Mission". Space News. Retrieved 2015-03-27.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>