Orion First Flight Video
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Orion First Flight Video

NASA's Orion spacecraft launched and successfully flew its first flight today, 5 December 2014. As seen in this video, it was carried aloft aboard a Delta IV Heavy Rocket. The capsule, intended to carry astronauts, but empty on this test flight, traveled for approximately 4.5 hours according to the space agency.

Orion Launch Video - Close-up

NASA says Orion launched at 7:05 a.m. EST, lifting off from Space Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket. The Orion crew module splashed down approximately 4.5 hours later in the Pacific Ocean, 600 miles southwest of San Diego.

During the uncrewed test, Orion traveled twice through the Van Allen belt where it experienced high periods of radiation, and reached an altitude of 3,600 miles above Earth. Orion also hit speeds of 20,000 mph and weathered temperatures approaching 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit as it entered Earth’s atmosphere.

Orion Launch Video - Through Start of Second Stage

According to NASA, on future missions, Orion will launch on NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) heavy-lift rocket currently being developed at the agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. A 70 metric-ton (77 ton) SLS will send Orion to a distant retrograde orbit around the moon on Exploration Mission-1 in the first test of the fully integrated Orion and SLS system.

Orion Splashdown Video

Orion First Flight Video - Post Flight Mission Briefing