While Mars is the logical next destination for human space exploration, significant work is required to mature the technologies needed for such a journey.
Cislunar space, the region between Earth and the Moon, is the ideal environment to prove out the systems required for human exploration of Mars. Orbital ATK was one of several companies selected for the NASA Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP-2) program, a public-private partnership for commercial development of deep-space exploration capabilities to support more extensive human space flight missions in cislunar space.
Orbital ATK and the company's proven space systems technologies are well positioned to support human exploration beyond LEO. The firm is one of only two companies in the world that provides commercial cargo resupply services to the International Space Station (ISS) for NASA. Cargo is delivered to the station by Orbital ATK's Cygnus advanced maneuvering spacecraft, which is designed to perform autonomous operations and rendezvous with other space vehicles. This technology, together with Cygnus’ modular design that enables it to carry a variety of payloads, makes it an ideal platform for human space exploration.
A new video of the company's cislunar human exploration concept is available for viewing at this direct link...