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J is for Jettison in NASA's illustrated alphabet

Enjoy great art while learning about the A to Zs of rocket science

There's no better time to build an interest in space exploration than when someone is still young and impressionable. Scientifically-minded parents and the young-at-heart may be pleased to know that NASA is working on a stunningly geeky picture book detailing the A to Zs of the Orion passenger module. Scheduled for its first manned flight in 2021, the capsule may one day be responsible for placing astronauts on Mars.

The simplistic yet eye-pleasing illustrations come with terse lines like, "C is for Crew Module: a home far away from home for our astronauts," as well as more detailed explanations, including a short exposition on "frangible joints." According to its Facebook page, the agency is planning to eventually release a downloadable book and poster upon completion of the "Orion A to Z" project, which is currently at "K" for "Kinetic."

A is for Apogee


A is for Apogee
"The term apogee refers to the point in an elliptical orbit when a spacecraft is farthest from the Earth. During Exploration Flight Test-1, Orion’s flight path will take it to an apogee of 3,600 miles. Just how high is that? A commercial airliner flies about 8 miles above the Earth’s surface, so Orion’s flight is 450 times farther than that."