NASA is all set to launch its new space capsule ‘Orion’, for a test flight on 4th of December at 7:00 am EST (timings subjected to weather conditions). It is reminiscent of the Apollo 17 spaceship that took men to the Moon in 1972.
According to BBC news, Orion will be launched on a Delta rocket out of Cape Canaveral in Florida on a short journey above the Earth to test its key technologies. Since it will be its first test outing, there will be no people aboard. It will cover a distance of 3,600 miles above the Earth, which is said to be the farthest space mission after the last Apollo 17 trip to the Moon.
The first test flight by Orion is believed to be followed by many more short flights, to help improve the technologies in the spacecraft so as to protect Mars bound astronauts from harmful radiation in deep space and the physiological impairments of a zero gravity environment. The first Orion mission Mars flight is not expected to be until about 2035, as per a Businessweek report.
Orion on its first test flight will orbit Earth twice called Exploration Test Flight-1 (EFT-1), carrying 1,200 sensors, whose work and functions will be tested to see if there is any scope of improvement in them or the design of the spaceship. After a flight of four hours and 24 minutes, Orion will drop into the Pacific Ocean about 600 miles from San Diego, slowed to about 17 miles per hour by large parachutes, as per the same above mentioned source.
The Orion capsule is intended to carry astronauts in space farther than any previous human being’s reach, to an asteroid or eventually to Mars. It is a potential beginning of something great to come ahead in future.