Written by: Lisa Stelzner
Primary Source: Daily Dose of Science Blog
Yesterday, Orion, a spacecraft built by NASA to hold up to six crew members, was successfully launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida, orbited the Earth twice, and landed in the Pacific Ocean off of Baja California. After the disastrous news during the past two months from Virgin Galactic, whose rocket-fired space plane to be used for space tourism crashed, and the Antares rocket, which was bringing cargo to the International Space Station exploded after launch, this successful news was very welcome. Orion’s flight is also groundbreaking for several reasons:
1) It was the first spacecraft designed to be manned that made it past low-Earth orbit since 1972, when Apollo 17 flew to the moon. Orion’s second orbit was at 3,600 miles above Earth, which is 15 times higher than the International Space Station’s orbit.
2) The plan for Orion is to send astronauts to an asteroid, Mars’s moons, and eventually Mars, once more powerful rockets are developed.
Orion’s total flight time was 4.5 hours, and appeared to be flawless from initial information. More data from sensors on the spacecraft will be analyzed next to make sure everything worked properly.
Latest posts by Lisa Stelzner (see all)
- NASA Launches Groundbreaking Soil Moisture Mapper - February 8, 2015
- Scientists dig up a new weapon against antibiotic-resistant bacteria - January 21, 2015
- Roller-coaster flight: How geese save energy while migrating - January 20, 2015