NASA Space Module Makes Pit Stop in NLR

It's 18,000 pounds and nearly eleven feet tall. And Saturday night it was parked in the back of a North Little Rock truck stop.
LITTLE ROCK, AR -- It's 18,000 pounds and nearly eleven feet tall.  And Saturday night it's parked in the back of a North Little Rock truck stop.

"If I stop, people naturally just come around me like I'm an amusement park," said truck driver Kevin Cunningham.

Cunningham is hauling the Orion crew module on a cross country trip from Virginia to California.

It's is a hit on Twitter where people are using the hashtag "SpotOrion" to post pictures and comments about the odd, oversized cargo making its way west.

"If I had $5 for every time someone took my picture to put me on YouTube I'd probably have almost as much as what this thing cost to build," Cunningham said of the module.

That's actually not likely as the module is part of a multi-billion dollar NASA project to build the Orion spacecraft. 

"It'll be able to take us basically anywhere we want to go, but I think everybody knows where we really want to go eventually is Mars," said Brandi Dean with NASA Public Affairs.

The module that's staying here is similar to one that will hold astronauts during those trips.  It is headed to a naval base in San Diego so NASA can practice ocean retrievals necessary during missions.

Cunningham says it's the most interesting thing he's ever hauled, but definitely not the easiest.

"You've got to pay attention to everyone that's coming around the side of you," he said.  "Everybody wants to video it.  Everybody wants pictures of it."

NASA hopes those deep space missions will begin around the year 2030.

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