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By all measures, 2014 was an incredible year for space travel and exploration. As the commercial space industry took significant leaps into the future, NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Russian Space Agency all had landmark years.
NASA conducted a nearly perfect test flight of the new Orion space capsule, which is designed to one day carry humans to asteroids and even Mars.
In November, the ESA landed its Rosetta space probe on the surface of a comet 311 million miles from Earth. India's space agency successfully deployed a satellite in orbit around Mars—a first for the country. And in a move that reflects the growing privatization of space flight, NASA hired SpaceX and Boeing to develop ships that will transport astronauts to and from the ISS. On top of all that, humans conducted more than 80 orbital space launches.
Here are some of the year's most impressive photos that capture the exhilaration, triumph, and agony of our collective voyages into the vacuum of space.