Dakota Midday: NASA's Orion Spacecraft Launch

Dec 4, 2014

This morning’s scheduled launch of NASA’s next generation Orion spacecraft was scrapped, but officials will try again Friday.  No one will be aboard when it launches, but Orion is designed to take astronauts into deep space, including Mars. NASA wants to test the most risky systems before flying with a crew.

Dec. 4, 2014 -- At Space Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket stands ready to boost NASA's Orion spacecraft on a 4.5-hour mission. During the flight, Orion will orbit Earth twice, covering more than 60,000 miles and reaching an altitude of 3,600 miles on the second orbit.
Credit NASA

The last time a spacecraft designed for human travel left Low Earth Orbit was the 1972 Apollo 17 mission, which was also the last time astronauts walked on the moon.

Tom Durkin, deputy director of the South Dakota Space Grant Consortium, joined Dakota Midday and discussed the Orion spacecraft and its importance.

Durkin also leads a presentation about the Orion spacecraft during a Learning Forum Series program at the Journey Museum in Rapid City on Sunday. “What’s Up: Missions to Space” begins at 2 pm. For more information, click here.