NASA’s Mars Bound Orion Spacecraft Successfully Completes Test Flight


Ben Mixon

By: Ben Mixon

On the morning of Friday December 5th, the anticipated new NASA spacecraft ‘Orion’ made it’s launch debut.

Blasting some 3,604 miles upwards and into Earth’s orbit, the craft orbited Earth twice before descending into the waters of the Pacific some 4 hours later, marking the furthest space travel since the Apollo missions.

As Orion dropped gently into the water with the help of parachutes, mission control commentator Rob Navias announced proudly on the livestream, “There’s your new spacecraft, America.” (watch the launch video here)

As the rocket blasted out of the atmosphere, mounted cameras relayed stunning pictures of the planet.

IMG_2712 IMG_2713Photos from

Despite it’s brevity, this mission has huge implications. Orion is the first spacecraft specifically designed for human travel into deep space, and plans are already being uncovered that involve sending astronauts to Mars, though the budget seems to be tight. The next launch of Orion is not expected until 2017-2018, and astronauts may not travel aboard the craft until the mid 2020’s.