Good morning! After a series of setbacks on Thursday, NASA is ready to try again. The Orion spacecraft is set for a 7:05 am ET lift off, if weather permits. Stay with us for the latest updates from NASA. If Orion is a go, we'll be following along during its 4.5 hours in orbit until splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.
Good news! NASA says the weather has cleared. It's looking even more likely Orion may be set for a 7:05 am blast off.
Orion will launch on a Delta IV Heavy Rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida. While in orbit, it will circle Earth two and a half times before splashing down in the Pacific Ocean, 600 miles off the coast of California.
The NASA engineers are now completing their polls to make sure its a go. So far, everyone has given the thumbs up for launch. T-12 minutes until lift off.
If all goes according to plan, Orion will have one more test flight in 2018 before it is cleared to carry astronauts into deep space.
If you're wondering what that bright red flame near the launch pad is, here's the answer from NASA: "The red flame is from the hydrogen flare stack. The burn off of this hydrogen prevents a detonation hazard on the pad."
Three minutes until lift off!
Here's the plan now that Orion has successfully blasted off into space:
It will now endure some pretty incredible stress tests. Orion will circle the Earth twice at an altitude of 3,600 miles and will make re-entry at 20,000 mph with temperatures hitting 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
Four and a half hours after lift off, the spacecraft is expected to splashdown 600 miles off the coast of San Diego in the Pacific Ocean.
"Everything going extremely well," NASA says. The first two test objectives have been successful as Orion travels to the 3,600 mile altitude, where it will then orbit Earth.
Orion is traveling at a velocity of 14,000 mph, the NASA commentator says.
Orion's satellite system is showing an incredible view of the Earth. Orion is now nearing 15,000 mph, nearing its orbital insertion velocity, according to NASA.
"Everything is continuing to go extremely well," NASA says of "America's newest spacecraft."
Here's something to look forward to: Orion’s camera is expected to give us the first live view of Earth since 1972, according to mission control.
Orion is in a "picture perfect" orbit, NASA says.
While in orbit, Orion will be put to the ultimate stress test. NASA will be watching to see how Orion's avionics perform while exposed to radiation.
Good morning! If you're just joining us, we're now 47 minutes into Orion's 4.5 hour flight.
Rex Walheim, who flew on three space shuttle missions, tells NASA TV he would absolutely fly on Orion.
Much of Orion's test flight will be through the Van Allen Belts. In case you're drawing a blank from high school science class, let us fill you in: They're doughnut-shaped zones of radiation outside of earth's atmosphere. Apollo passed through the Van Allen Belts, but it didn't stay for long.
Here's a #HumbleBrag about Orion's computer: Not only can it process 480 million instructions per second, but NASA says its also 25 times faster than the computers at the International Space Station.
In a little over an hour, we're expected to get the first live view of the entire Earth since Apollo 17 in 1972.
Orion's second stage burn went perfectly, according to NASA. It's now at an altitude of about 3,630 miles.