Categories: Astronomy

Orion Unveiled for Maiden Launch Today Dec. 4

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.

NASA’s first Orion spacecraft and Delta 4 Heavy Booster unveiled at Space Launch Complex 37 (SLC-37) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida prior to launch set for Dec. 4, 2014. Credit: Ken Kremer – kenkremer.com

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.

Up close view of Orion inside the mobile service tower pad 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida one day prior to launch. Credit: Ken Kremer – kenkremer.com

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.

Ken Kremer

………….

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

Ken Kremer

Dr. Ken Kremer is a speaker, research scientist, freelance science journalist (KSC area,FL) and photographer whose articles, space exploration images and Mars mosaics have appeared in magazines, books, websites and calendars including Astronomy Picture of the Day, NBC, FOX, BBC, SPACE.com, Spaceflight Now, Science and the covers of Aviation Week & Space Technology, Spaceflight and the Explorers Club magazines. Ken has presented at numerous educational institutions, civic & religious organizations, museums and astronomy clubs. Ken has reported first hand from the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, NASA Wallops, NASA Michoud/Stennis/Langley and on over 80 launches including 8 shuttle launches. He lectures on both Human and Robotic spaceflight - www.kenkremer.com. Follow Ken on Facebook and Twitter

Recent Posts

Could Martian atmospheric samples teach us more about the Red Planet than surface samples?

NASA is actively working to return surface samples from Mars in the next few years,…

7 hours ago

Black Holes are Firing Beams of Particles, Changing Targets Over Time

Black holes seem to provide endless fascination to astronomers. This is at least partly due…

18 hours ago

Another Giant Antarctic Iceberg Breaks Free

On May 20th, 2024, an iceberg measuring 380 square kilometers (~147 mi2) broke off the…

1 day ago

Fish are Adapting to Weightlessness on the Chinese Space Station

Four zebrafish are alive and well after nearly a month in space aboard China's Tiangong…

2 days ago

Marvel at the Variety of Planets Found by TESS Already

The hunt for new exoplanets continues. On May 23rd, an international collaboration of scientists published…

2 days ago

NASA is Practicing for the Moon With Partial Space Suits

In just a few short years, NASA hopes to put humans back on the lunar…

2 days ago