KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL – The inaugural blastoff of NASA’s new Orion capsule is now just hours away.
We are counting down to NASA’s new generation of human spaceflight vehicles that starts humanity on the road to Mars.
Update: Technical issue delay 1st Orion launch. Details to follow.
“This is a big deal and its importance cannot be underestimated,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden told the media during a briefing at the Delta pad.
Just eight hours before the planned liftoff, the media, including myself, witnessed the rollback of the service tower to unveil Orion and its Delta IV Heavy booster rocket to the heavens where it soon soar on it first test flight.
Enjoy my photo gallery herein.
The Orion capsule is designed to carry astronauts farther into space than ever before and open a new era in human spaceflight.
Orion is slated to lift off on a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket on its inaugural test flight to space on the uncrewed Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1) mission at 7:05 a.m. EST on December 4, 2014, from Space Launch Complex 37 (SLC-37) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
The launch window extends for 2 hours and 39 minutes.
The two-orbit, four and a half hour Orion EFT-1 flight around Earth will lift the Orion spacecraft and its attached second stage to an orbital altitude of 3,600 miles, about 15 times higher than the International Space Station (ISS) – and farther than any human spacecraft has journeyed in 40 years.
Watch for Ken’s ongoing Orion coverage and he is onsite at KSC in the days leading up to the historic launch on Dec. 4.
Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Orion and Earth and planetary science and human spaceflight news.
Learn more about Orion, SpaceX, Antares, NASA missions and more at Ken’s upcoming outreach events:
Dec 1-5: “Orion EFT-1, SpaceX CRS-5, Antares Orb-3 launch, Curiosity Explores Mars,” Kennedy Space Center Quality Inn, Titusville, FL, evenings