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Apr 18, 2012 6:39 PM by Matt Stafford

New and old space technology on display in Colorado Springs

The 28th annual National Space Symposium is underway at the Broadmoor.

The biggest companies working on new space related technology are showing off their stuff; some of it is hands on.

Lockheed Martin Space Systems has several items on display; like a docking simulator for the Orion spacecraft, which is a NASA project that they're supporting. Anyone can hop up and take the controls, docking Orion with the International Space Station. Lockheed Martin employees say Orion can dock with the space station, but it's really being designed for other deep space mission.

"Get a little hands-on feel about what it takes to do some of the incredible things planned for the Orion program," says Marion LaNasa, a spokesman for Lockheed Martin, talking about the Orion docking simulator.

LaNasa says they're expecting to be taking Orion on test flights by 2014, and hopefully human flights by 2017.

"Although this is a quiet time for Americans in space, other than the International Space Station, we're getting ready for the next big phase of discovery," LaNasa says.

Some of the missions they're planning to use Orion on include landing on an asteroid and eventually going to Mars.

Another popular set of items at the Space Symposium are some Soviet 1970's-era space artifacts. They're from the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center; including two models of moon probes used by the Soviets, as well as a prototype Sokul space suit. The Sokul space suit was designed in response to three cosmonauts they were killed aboard the Soyuz 11 mission in 1971.

The Cosmosphere and Space Center is planning to loan these items to the Space Foundation; which puts on the Space Symposium and is based in Colorado Springs. They'll but put on display in the new visitor's center the Foundation is creating.

"I think this is an interesting aspect to show; even though we were in a space race against the Soviets at the time, they were still doing their own thing and now I think the goal for everybody should be to work together," says Meredith Miller, collection manager for the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center.

As soon as the Space Symposium finishes up the artifacts will be shipped to the Space Foundation. They're expected to be on display again later this year. The new visitor's center is expected to open August 1st.

The Space Symposium runs through Thursday.

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