SAN DIEGO, CA (WAFF) - We witnessed history live last week with the launch of Orion, but the excitement is far from over.
NASA's newest space vehicle, Orion, is now in San Diego after accomplishing its first test flight and splashing down off Mexico's Baja peninsula.
A Navy spokesman says an amphibious warship carrying the unmanned spacecraft is due to arrive at Naval Base San Diego on Monday.
Crew members of the USS Anchorage plucked Orion from the Pacific Ocean on Friday after it shot more than 3,600 miles out from Earth and returned with the capsule intact.
The 11-foot-tall capsule's stay in California will not be long; it will soon be put on a truck and returned to Cape Canaveral just in time for Christmas.
Now, here's where Huntsville comes in to play.
The heat shield on Orion is going to be sent back here to the Rocket City for analysis by local aerospace workers.
NASA is counting on future Orions to carry astronauts out into the solar systems, to Mars and beyond