Orion, America’s New Spacecraft, Passes Huge Test

America has not had a human-rated spacecraft since the shuttle fleet retired.  It has not had a spacecraft that could leave low earth orbit since Apollo.  Last week, NASA’s new spacecraft, Orion, flew in space for the first time.  It was unmanned and only flew for two orbits, but Orion flew well beyond the low-earth-orbit zone that has been the limit for humans in space since Apollo 17 returned from the last moon mission in 1972.

The flight was almost flawless.  Orion launched atop a Delta IV Heavy rocket at 7:05 am EST Friday morning.  At its highest point, it was 3,600 miles from Earth.  Orion is still several years away from being used in human space flight, but it is wonderful to see the concrete steps on back to the moon and then beyond – not just dreams and speeches.

Read the complete NASA press release about the flight here:  NASA’s New Orion Spacecraft Completes First Spaceflight Test.

The United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket with NASA’s Orion spacecraft mounted atop, lifts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Space Launch Complex 37 at at 7:05 a.m. EST, Friday, Dec. 5, 2014, in Florida. Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

The United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket with NASA’s Orion spacecraft mounted atop, lifts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 37 at at 7:05 a.m. EST, Friday, Dec. 5, 2014, in Florida.
Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

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