Orion EFT-1 Lifts Off

Orion EFT-1 Lifts Off

In contrast to all the issues that cropped up yesterday, today’s launch of the Orion Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1) mission went off without a hitch.

The United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV Heavy rocket lifted off on time at 7:05 am Eastern Standard Time (EST) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.  Orion is now in its preliminary orbit.  Its second stage will fire again in a little over an hour to raise the apogee (highest point) to 3,600 miles.   Orion will then descend through the atmosphere and splashdown in the Pacific four hours and 23 minutes after the launch.  

EFT-1 is primarily a test of Orion’s heatshield.  The spacecraft will be recovered and returned to its manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, to determine how well the heat shield materials withstood the heat of reentry.  NASA is buying the data from Lockheed Martin.

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