NASA is back, baby!

oriononlaunchpad
The Orion spacecraft awaits its launch at Capa Canaveral, Fla. (Image: NASA)

Well, of course NASA never really left. But it’s so exciting to see a successful launch, flight, and pinpoint touchdown of its next to-be-manned vehicle. The 4 1/2 hour mission this morning included liftoff, two orbits at up to 3,600 miles above Earth’s surface, and a “bulls eye splashdown” at 11:29 am ET off the coast of Baja California.

NPR’s Geoff Brumfiel described Orion’s future: ‘It’s designed for deep space, but Orion’s first mission will be back to the neighborhood of the moon. The plan is to have a robot capture a small asteroid and drag it back to lunar orbit. Then Orion will carry up to four astronauts to meet it. It’s all supposed to happen in the 2020s, though some say the mission is too complicated and not much of an advance.'”

It is hoped Orion will one day take astronauts to Mars.

 

12 comments

  1. Why do they still drop them into the ocean, why not say the Mojave, have they more confidence in recovering them from the deep if they should sink than their being smashed to pieces if crashing to terra firma?

    I just love this stuff makes me wish I was 60 years younger so I could watch what is to come. In 2008 I went aboard the USS Hornet in SF and visited the capsules they have onboard, she was the ship involved in their rescue from the ocean.

    Fascinationg stuff this? 😛

    1. Offhand I’m not sure why they opted for ocean landings, since water is just as hard as land if you come down too fast. Maybe they figured the ocean was a bigger target with fewer obstacles if the landing was long or short.

      It is fascinating. I’d love to be around to watch a Mars landing, just as we did the moon landing. One of the most spectacular achievements of mankind. Unforgettable.

  2. I watched the whole 2-hour plus effort to launch on Thursday morning and felt disappointed all day long that there were issues preventing the launch but I was back up and watching again for Friday’s try. It was great to watch history in the making once again. I still find it all quite amazing even though I have been around ever since the beginnings of America’s space endeavors. I can’t help but feel a measure of remorse knowing that I won’t be around to watch the manned venture to Mars. 😕

    1. You know… now that I think about it perhaps I just should be grateful for what I did get to see because I think it is even sadder to think about H.G. Wells and the fact that he missed it all! 😦

    2. If I’d been watching the launch yesterday, my neighbors would have known, because that crazy woman next door would have been jumping up and down and yelling — all by herself in her living room at 5 am.

      I heard one report that said our first manned mission to Mars could come in 20 years. That would make me 91. Lots of people live into their 90s these days. Maybe I’ll be around to see it …

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