Range Tracking

T-3 days and counting until EFT-1

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This is NASA’s big week and there is a lot of excitement around our house to see the first launch of the Orion spacecraft on Thursday, 4 December 2014, aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station for Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1). The Orion capsule is hoped to be the vehicle that will one day take astronauts back out to the Moon and, maybe, one day to Mars. Sam especially is excited about it but though it looks like he has reserved his window seat he won’t be flying on this first test flight that will last about four and a half hours ending with a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja California. Besides being a test of all of Orion’s systems without people onboard, the spacecraft will rise to a height of 3,600 miles then plunge down into the atmosphere to test its heat shield at speeds close to what a craft returning from the Moon would experience. The collage of images are from photos I have taken of full and partial scale models of the Orion spacecraft along with a Delta IV Heavy launch from several years back.

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