NASA’s Orion Test Launch – Live Stream

NASA’s Orion Test Launch – Live Stream

By Rebecca Jacobson | PBS

Watch the live stream below

Update: Due to wind, technical issues and a civilian boat impeding on the launch site, NASA has delayed the launch to later in today’s window. Orion can launch safely anytime before 9:44 a.m. ET. We are standing by. In the meantime, don’t miss Mile’s O’Brien’s report on Orion from last night’s PBS NewsHour:

NASA’s Orion Test Launch

NASA is preparing to launch the Orion spacecraft on its first test flight Thursday morning at 7:05am EST, with a 2 hour, 39 minute launch window.

Barring any delays, the unmanned Orion will orbit the Earth twice in four and a half hours, rising to a height of 3,600 miles above the Earth. Then it will drop back through the Earth’s atmosphere at 20,000 miles per hour.

At that speed, Orion will heat up to 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Orion’s 11 parachutes will open, slowing the spacecraft’s plummet to 20 miles an hour when it lands in the Pacific ocean 600 miles southwest of San Diego.

Orion is NASA’s latest step to taking astronauts beyond the moon. Apart from testing the capsule’s ability to handle launch and reentry, this unmanned flight will test the capsule’s shielding in the Van Allen Belt, a bubble of radiation surrounding the Earth. No manned space mission has crossed the Van Allen Belt since the Apollo missions of the 1960s and 1970s. If astronauts hope to reach asteroids, or even Mars, they will undergo more radiation than ever before.

It’s also an opportunity to test Orion’s state-of-the-art computer, which can handle 480 million instructions per second — 25 times faster than the International Space Station’s computer.

NASA hopes to use Orion to send astronauts to an asteroid to gather samples in 2021. That mission will clear the way for a manned mission to Mars.

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream


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