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First Orion test flight slips to December
Posted: Sat, Mar 15, 2014, 9:45 AM ET (1345 GMT)
Orion EFT-1 launch illustration (NASA) The first launch of NASA's Orion spacecraft has been delayed from September to December because of issues with the launch manifest, NASA announced late Friday. The Exploration Flight Test 1 (EFT-1) mission will launch an uncrewed Orion atop a Delta 4 Heavy rocket into an elliptical orbit to test spacecraft systems, including a high-speed reentry. NASA announced late Friday that while the spacecraft will be ready to support a launch in September or October, they are now targeting a launch in early December so that United Launch Alliance (ULA), which constructs Atlas and Delta rockets, can "support allowing more opportunities for launches this year." Reports speculate that the delay will make room for ULA to launch a pair of previously-classified space surveillance satellites prior to the Orion test.
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