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NASA’s New Orion Spacecraft Will Have To Wait Another Day To Fly

Originally scheduled to launch at 6:05 a.m., but because of wind and technical issues, NASA has delayed the launch to later in the morning and that window has now closed.

8:30 a.m. update from CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA’s new Orion spacecraft will have to wait another day to fly.

Wind gusts and a sticky rocket valve forced the Cape Canaveral launch team to call off Thursday’s attempt to send Orion into orbit on its first-ever test flight.

NASA promised to try again Friday.

Orion is how NASA hopes to one day send astronauts to Mars. This inaugural flight, while just 4½ hours, will send the unmanned capsule 3,600 miles into space.

High winds twice halted Thursday morning’s countdown with less than four minutes remaining. Then a valve in the unmanned Delta IV rocket malfunctioned at the three-minute mark. Launch controllers scrambled to check all of these so-called “fill and drain” valves in the three first-stage booster engines. But time ran out.

Yesterday evening at CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) —NASA is on a high not felt since the space shuttle days, with the imminent debut of its Orion spacecraft.

Shuttle veterans, in fact, are leading the charge in Thursday’s two-orbit, four-and-a-half-hour test flight. The mission is meant to shake out the Orion capsule before astronauts climb aboard — eventually, perhaps, for Mars.

An unmanned rocket is scheduled to blast off with Orion at 7:05 a.m. from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Good launch weather is forecast.

Orion is set to fly farther than any human-rated spacecraft since the Apollo moon program. It will aim for a distance of 3,600 miles, more than 14 times higher than the International Space Station. That’s so the capsule can re-enter the atmosphere at top speed over the Pacific.

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