launch

America has driven a golden spike as it crosses a bridge into the future…

So said the NASA spokesman yesterday after the launch and ocean splashdown of Orion, the latest United States spacecraft, and first step in a program for a future manned mission to Mars.  We first reported on the Orion earlier this year here at borg.com after one of the test splashdowns and recovery of Orion in the Pacific.

Orion launch 120514

While the networks reported on early Friday morning local news across the country, NASA broadcast some good footage of the launch, including a great, albeit brief, horizontal look at the three rocket carriage for the capsule, like a Star Wars rebel spaceship.  And the USS Anchorage shot its own footage on its way to recover the craft after its rapid freefall back to Earth.  Full video of the launch through recovery is below, after the break.

Orion horizontal

Orion is a’rising… I can see its stars a-blazin’ in the middle of a clear night, country sky…

Although it won’t carry four humans into the void until sometime in the third decade of this century, Orion–and yesterday’s launch–represents NASA’s reminder to all that it hasn’t faded away yet, despite private aeronautics slowly inching their way forward, and despite the continued marginalization of the space program by Congress.

Orion mission patch

Here is full footage of the entire launch and splashdown, from NASA yesterday:

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