Orion Returns After Successful Space Trip


NASA’s new and state-of-the-art spacecraft Orion, returned after its successful space trip on Friday. The spacecraft has been built to take humans farther and deeper into the space than ever before. The history making test of the spacecraft was witnessed by millions of people around the globe.

It took off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Florida’s Atlantic coast at 7:05 a.m. The launch was delayed for a day due to some weather conditions and problem with the rocket’s fuel system.

The Orion space capsule is NASA’s first spacecraft built for a trip to Mars. Its successful test is said to have marked the new beginning of man exploration outside earth’s orbit. It was the first NASA experiment in four decades that went that far into the space after Apollo 17 mission in 1972. It seemed to operate well during its first flight as NASA officials tested its major systems for future missions of the capsule.

The capsule landed back in the Pacific Ocean 600 miles away from San Diego after its four and a half hour return flight. It is a 19,000 pounds vehicle that was carrying only test equipment and some souvenirs during the trip. It did not encounter any technical or functional problems and landed back into Pacific Ocean safely.

NASA spokesman said it is America’s new spacecraft that will open new arenas of space exploration in the future beyond earth’s orbit. After its successful return from space trip, Orion is intended to carry astronauts on deep space missions eventually, starting in 2018 and further asteroid exploration missions and a year-long trips to the red planet beyond that.

Orion has been made to withstand temperatures of up to 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit and is the largest of its kind ever made. It is 11 feet long capsule which had slowed from a maximum speed of 20,000 mph to just 20 mph before it splashed into the sea. It will be stored in Kennedy Space Center in Florida where it will be analyzed by engineers how well the spacecraft systems and parts performed.

NASA expressed joy and excitement on the successful completion of Orion launch especially after two of its failures. Recently two NASA rockets were exploded in Virginia and California, one was a commercial cargo rocket and other was carrying private citizens on a test flight.

NASA is intended to eventually carry astronauts on more extensive and deeper space missions in 2018. Given the budget of carrying out future space experiments, Orion will be set for many forthcoming trips outside the earth’s orbit on moon and Mars.

This $375-million mission only marks the beginning of in-space capsule. NASA is also working on developing more powerful rocket system that will be able to dispense Orion out of earth’s orbit. It will be more futuristic in its power and system specifically built for next generation spacecraft.

Although many technical difficulties still need to be addressed and many landmarks still to be overcome fur future launches, NASA and its supporters celebrated the return of Orion after its successful space trip and look forward for more successful tests to land on Mars one day.

By Atika Jilani


The Wall Street Journal

National Geographic


New York Times

Photo by Emiliano Binotto – Flickr License


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