NASA's New Orion Spacecraft Set to Launch Friday

By By Brian Lada, Meteorologist
December 04, 2014, 10:58:31 PM EST

After several complications, the Orion launch has been delayed.

Orion was originally scheduled to launch at 7:05 a.m. EST on Thursday at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station located along the east coast of Florida.

However, the launch was delayed several times due to an early morning range issue and multiple wind violations. A boat within range was cause for the first delay.

Wind violations continued to push the launch time back more than an hour past the original schedule time. According to Meteorologist Eric Leister, winds at the launch site were near the 5-mph mark at the time of the delay announcements.

NASA issued an alert that the launch will be postponed until Friday, Dec. 5. The first open launch window begins at 7:05 a.m.

If NASA clears Orion for launch on Friday, watch it live here:

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Orion's test flight on Thursday will be unmanned, making two orbits around the Earth to test the launch and high speed re-entry systems, according to NASA.

This next-generation spacecraft is the first since Apollo was designed to take humans into deep space.

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"Orion is the exploration spacecraft for NASA, and paired with the Space Launch System, or SLS, rocket it will allow us to explore the solar system," said Mark Geyer, program manager of Orion, which is based at Johnson Space Center in Houston.

NASA says that the peak altitude of the flight is expected to be 3,609 miles, roughly 15 times higher than the space station.

This is still just a fraction of the distance from the Earth to the moon, a distance of nearly 239,000 miles.

In the future, NASA plans to launch Orion with a new heavy-lift rocket that will be capable of sending humans to deep-space destinations, such as Mars.

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