December 05, 2014

Orion Up

NASA took the first step in getting back into the manned exploration of space business today with the first launch of the Orion spacecraft/Delta IV Heavy rocket system.

I admit to a small amount of disappointment.  When I first heard of the Orion project, this is what I thought of immediately, not the usual rocket/capsule arrangement.  Sure, there's that pesky "nuking your own planet" thing, but I'm sure they could figure something out.

Still, this new Orion is planned to be used to get us to Mars.  However, for this launch it was unmanned... which doesn't mean there wasn't anything on board.  The TV show Sesame Street donated mementos to the flight, including Cookie Monster's cookies, the Inchworm, Super Grover's cape... and Ernie's rubber duckie.

If that isn't the coolest darn thing ever, I don't know what is.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 12:43 PM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
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1

"Still, this new Orion is planned to be used to get us to Mars."

Someday...maybe.  I wouldn't count on seeing a manned mission to Mars in my lifetime, when it's supposed to be done with a ship that's going to get test flights at a rate of 1 every 3 years.  The children of the people who flew on a Dragon capsule will be greeting the Orion crew.

Posted by: Rick C at December 05, 2014 04:29 PM (ECH2/)

2 No rapid post-launch disassembly, no unplanned lithobraking. Have we learned nothing from KSP?

Posted by: GreyDuck at December 05, 2014 06:17 PM (3m7pZ)

3 Did they actually achieve orbit? How many orbits did they do before bringing it down? Where did it come down? (I know that it's an ocean lander, like Apollo, rather than a land-lander, like the Russians use.)

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at December 05, 2014 06:31 PM (+rSRq)

4

"How many orbits did they do before bringing it down? "

I believe the plan was 2 orbits.

Here's a story about it.  Looks like it went (briefly) into a pretty highly elliptical orbit so they could do a full-test high-speed reentry.


Posted by: Rick C at December 05, 2014 07:42 PM (0a7VZ)

5 Two orbits, water landing, I thought I read somewhere that it was about 200 miles west of San Diego but I can't find that reference again.

Posted by: Wonderduck at December 05, 2014 10:27 PM (jGQR+)

6 This says "about 275 miles (442 kilometers) west of Baja California".

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at December 05, 2014 11:11 PM (+rSRq)

7 It goes on to say "...before bringing it to port in San Diego."  Guess that's where I got it from, just got jumbled in the ol' brain thingy.

Posted by: Wonderduck at December 06, 2014 10:04 AM (jGQR+)

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