This Thursday, December 4th, NASA will be launching the Orion Capsule on an unmanned test flight. This is the capsule intended to carry astronauts to and from the ISS.
At this point I feel I need to say: Polling suggests that Americans generally believe NASA’s budget to be as high as 20% of the Federal Budget. The truth is much different- for over 40 years it has averaged roughly 1% of the federal budget. In 2012- the last year I can find complete numbers quickly, it was 0.48%, or just under a half-penny for every tax dollar.
At this point I will direct you to an excellent piece on the Orion Capsule over at the Houston Chronicle, which is the sixth piece in an excellent series on NASA by Eric Berger.