Orion launch feels like old times for NASA, The countdown continues to the Orion launch at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
Air Force Weather Officer Kathy Winters upgraded the chances for a successful Orion launch to 70 percent on Wednesday afternoon.[fwdevp preset_id=”8″ video_path=”7Tuo7byZcBo”]
“We’re up at to 70 percent go for tomorrow morning,” Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana said Wednesday. “We’ve got a good launch window so things are looking good. They aren’t tracking any issues on the vehicle.”
The launch window opens at 7:05 a.m. That’s when NASA will take its next step toward deep space exploration, and that means taking risks by testing the limitations of the capsule before a crew ever steps aboard.
“Tomorrow morning you’re going to see us press harder than we pressed before because for the first time in more than 40 years this nation is going to launch a spacecraft intended to carry humans beyond lower Earth orbit. That’s a big deal,” NASA administrator Charles Bolden said. “It’s a huge day for us.”
Once launched, the Orion spacecraft is expected to orbit the Earth twice before re-entering the atmosphere and parachuting into the Pacific Ocean, about 4 1/2 hours after liftoff.
Orion’s heat shield and structure will be evaluated, as well as its guidance and navigation system. The capsules deceleration system will also be put to the test.
“It’s a test flight, so we are pushing on the systems to make sure they work as we expect,” Orion Program Manager Mark Geyer said.
“We’ve been working really hard to get to this point and this is our first step forward in our journey into deep space and eventually onto Mars,” said Cabana.
It will be the first time a spacecraft intended to carry astronauts out of lower Earth orbit will launched from the Space Coast in more than 40 years.
“We will, in the future, be putting our astronauts on board and we’re testing some of the highest risks,” said Johnson Space Center Director Ellen Ochoa.
Anticipation is mounting for those planning to watch the historic launch.
Residents spent the day staking out good spots to see the lift off.
“Each launch is different. It’s just the excitement, you know? To see everything go perfect because there’s a lot of work and money that goes into this,” said Brevard County resident Wayne Storey.