The NASA space shuttle Orion that was originally set to take off on Thursday, but was delayed, has now been a success. At 7:05 am Friday morning, the rocket blasted into orbit over the Atlantic ocean. As the rocket headed for space, it shed protective layers and away it went as it soared into space.
On Thursday, the shuttle reached countdown three different times, but each time the launch was scrubbed. Officials state that the launch delay was due to gusty winds and leaky fuel valves. Although a minor setback, the launch was then rescheduled with a new launch date set for Friday morning.
During the first attempt at blast-off, the shuttle was set to take off at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at sunrise Thursday morning. The space center was already packed on Wednesday evening with reporters that had not been to the station since the last shuttle was launched at the facility in 2011. There was an estimated 27,000 individuals and 650 reporters that attended the first intended launch and just as many Friday morning.
During the failed attempt on Thursday, the Orion launch was delayed due to technical difficulties, a boater that was riding too close to the shore, and bad weather. A short while later, officials attempted to launch the shuttle again once the weather had cleared. During the last few minutes before the shuttle was to launch, two valves failed to close. Since the it was so close to the rockets two and a half hour launch window, officials made the call to delay the launch until Friday morning, and the delayed Orion launch was a success.
Orion, the deep space capsule, was designed by Lockheed-Martin and NASA and is expected to carry man further into space than any shuttle has yet. Engineers have high hopes that the vessel will be able to carry man to the moon, to asteroids, Mars, and even beyond. For now, NASA is attempting to test the vessels with a four and a half hour test flight with orbits around the Earth to determine the safety of the vessel.
The Orion space shuttle test drive will cost approximately $375 million and will test to see if the shuttle will be safe for future manned missions. The shuttle is intended to venture 3,600 miles out into space, orbit the Earth twice, and then land into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of San Diego. Once the vessel lands in the water, Navy ships will be stationed near the Mexican Baja coast to recover the vessel.
If the test flight of the Orion goes well, it will be the first rocket since the Apollo that will be capable of carrying humans more than a couple hundred miles from Earth. The ultimate goal of Engineers for the spacecraft is for it to be able to carry humans back and forth to Mars someday.
Friday, the launch of Orion was a success and an incredible sight for those who got to witness it. The 24 Story rocket gained momentum, riding the wave of fire below, before disappearing into thin air with tons of witnesses below. Although Thursday’s delay was a major letdown for many, on Friday, individuals who had the opportunity to witness its blast off were ecstatic. The ship is expected to be back on Earth and to land in the Pacific Ocean around 11:35 am Friday.
By Kelli Patterson