Today’s launch just wasn’t meant to be. NASA’s Orion spacecraft was hampered by three issues this morning. Weather, a stray boat and a technical issue. It wasn’t rain impacting the launch area, it was wind.
A stray boat caused the first delay. After that, wind gusts prevented NASA from giving the launch a ‘go.’ Less than an hour after the wind delay, a technical issue popped up. One of the fuel and drain valves did not close. NASA tried to fix the issue by cycling the valves open on three core boosters to see if opening and closing the valves would fix the issue.
NASA decided to call it a day. Here’s the tweet announcing the postponement of Orion’s launch until tomorrow.
Scrub. Today’s planned launch of #Orion is postponed due to valve issue. Our next possible launch window opens at 7:05am ET Friday
— NASA (@NASA) December 4, 2014
The 4.5 hour long mission will try again tomorrow morning. If weather and other issues prevent a launch on Friday, NASA has also scheduled Saturday as a backup date.
Orion is a big step forward for NASA. Tomorrow’s test flight will be a first for a new generation of NASA engineers. Not since Apollo 17 in 1972 has NASA sent a spacecraft out of Earth’s low orbit.
The Orion space capsule will be 3,600 miles above Earth at its furthest orbit tomorrow. Manned missions to Mars and beyond start tomorrow.
It will be a slow process, though. I want to see space missions happening now, but many pieces of Orion are still being developed. A service module and working launch abort tower are still being worked on. These components will be implemented on Orion’s second test flight in 2018. The second flight will be called Exploration Mission 1 and it’s going to be awesome. It will still be unmanned, but NASA will send Orion around the moon and back. The second launch will pave the way for the first crewed flight in 2021.
Man, I wish all of that was happening tomorrow.
NASA will give it another shot tomorrow morning at 7:05 am ET. Get up early and check out the livestream. You won’t be disappointed.