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Orion completes successful test flight
Posted: Fri, Dec 5, 2014, 4:52 PM ET (2152 GMT)
Delta 4 Heavy launch of Orion on EFT-1 (J. Foust) NASA's Orion spacecraft flew a nearly flawless four-and-a-half-hour test flight Friday, making two orbits of the Earth before splashing down on target in the Pacific. A Delta 4 Heavy rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral at 7:05 am EST (1205 GMT), one day after weather and technical issues scrubbed the previous launch attempt. The Delta placed in orbit an uncrewed Orion spacecraft on a mission called Exploration Flight Test 1. After completing one orbit of the Earth, the Delta's upper stage boosted Orion into a trajectory that reached an apogee of 5,800 kilometers before reentered at about 32,000 kilometers per hour. Orion splashed down about 1,000 kilometers southwest of San Diego, where US Navy ships were in position to recover the spacecraft. NASA officials declared the mission a complete success, although engineers will analyze data collected during the test flight over the next several months to develop future Orion models, which will eventually carry astronauts on deep space missions.
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