Space travel. The first flight test of Orion, NASA’s next-generation spacecraft that will send astronauts to an asteroid and onward to Mars, is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 4. NASA will host a series of news conferences and flight test commentary on NASA Television, as well as media events at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Orion will launch, uncrewed, on a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket at 7:05 a.m. EST from Space Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) in Florida. The window for launch is two hours 39 minutes.
NASA TV launch commentary of the flight, designated Exploration Flight Test-1, begins at 4:30 a.m. and will continue through splashdown in the Pacific Ocean approximately 600 miles southwest of San Diego.
During its 4.5 hour trip, Orion will orbit Earth twice and travel to an altitude of 3,600 miles into space. The flight is designed to test many of the elements that pose the greatest risk to astronauts and will provide critical data needed to improve Orion’s design and reduce risks to future mission crews.
Media events for the flight begin two days before launch.
Space travel. Tuesday, Dec. 2:
7 a.m. — Media tour of Kennedy facilities currently being prepared to support future launches of Orion and NASA’s Space Launch System.
Noon – Journey to Mars panel discussion on NASA TV from Kennedy and NASA Headquarters in Washington.
1 p.m. — Orion flight test status and overview briefing on NASA TV.
Space travel. Wednesday, Dec. 3:
8:30 a.m. — Media availability with NASA Administrator Charles Bolden at Space Launch Complex 37 with Orion and the Delta IV Heavy in the background.
11 a.m. — Prelaunch news conference on NASA TV.
1 to 3 p.m. — NASA Social – Orion Overview Event on NASA TV.
A post-flight test briefing on NASA TV also will be held approximately two hours after splashdown on Dec. 4.