Tag Archive: Orion test launch December 2014


 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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Orion in space

Nichelle Nichols is partnering with NASA in its efforts to move forward with Earth’s exploration of outer space.  From inspiring countless future astronauts and scientists with her character Uhura in the original Star Trek to being part of the promotional efforts for the space shuttle program in the 1970s including NASA’s own Enterprise, Nichols is now continuing her inspirational role for the next generation of space travelers.

In a promotional video released this weekend by NASA via YouTube, Nichols is sure to generate interest in the new space capsule, called Orion, which is being engineered to take humans farther into space than ever before–eventually to Mars.  This is similar to the role played by Star Trek: The Next Generation actor Wil Wheaton with the Curiosity program that we reported on here at borg.com back in August 2012.

Scale photo San Diego recovery Orion module

Significantly smaller and with far less room to move around in than the space shuttles, Orion has the look of a giant version of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo space capsules that are now displayed in the National Aeronautics and Space Museum at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.  Sitting atop a Delta IV rocket system like those old Redstone and Jupiter launch systems but bigger and more advanced, Orion is being tested to prepare it to take astronauts “farther into the solar system than ever before, including to an asteroid and Mars”.  Check out a great article about a test near San Diego a few weeks ago here.  After the break, watch Nichols’ new video about the Orion:

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