|Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett|
Tomorrow, December 4th 2014, will mark the test flight launch of NASA's Orion spacecraft. Orion will be the exploration vehicle traveling with the Space Launch System, NASA's new heavy-lift rocket that will carry humans deeper into space than we have ever been before!Tomorrow's launch, around 7:00 AM E.S.T at Cape Canaveral, will blast Orion into orbit for a four hour flight testing many of the safety systems on board. This launch will be the first major test of Orion's abilities. If all goes well this could be the new frontier of space exploration, sending humans to an asteroid and even Mars.
Orion has been equipped with systems unavailable on other spacecraft. It has a new type of launch abort system that will improve crew safety, improved propulsion, life support and thermal protection that will make human deep space travel possible. The spacecraft has been through a very stringent series of tests prior to the test launch.
This story is still very much unfolding, and no doubt we'll be hearing a lot about it in the next few days, weeks and even years. Despite of the lack of mainstream media coverage, NASA has done an excellent job at making information available to the public regarding Orion's progress and status. You'll find dynamic links and video about Orion here. A launch countdown ticker, news links, video and up-to-date information here. You can connect with the Orion mission on many social media outlets: Facebook, Twitter, etc. I think it is truly exciting that we are able to keep up with this new mission. I hope that it inspires kids and adults alike to have a renewed interest in space exploration, science and engineering! Let's use this as a teaching opportunity!
- NASA Orion Blog
- Orion: Follow the Progress of NASA's New Spacecraft for Human Exploration
- NASA, Orion: Critical Flight Test on the Journey to Mars
Orion resources and links:
- Orion Overview Fact Sheet
- Orion Fact Card
- Orion Kid's Coloring Pages and Activities
- NASA TV, For Students, Educators, Public