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    The NASA Orion space capsule is seen atop a Delta IV rocket ready for a test launch at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014

    NASA Orion Mars Spacecraft Set to Launch on Friday

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    The spacecraft is considered to be the first step in America’s plans to put people on Mars by the mid-2030s.

    MOSCOW, December 5 (Sputnik) — A new US unmanned spacecraft, Orion, is set to conduct its first test flight on December 5, according to the BBC.

    The space capsule, designed by Lockheed Martin, is scheduled to launch atop a Delta IV Heavy rocket on December 5, 7:05 a.m. EST from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. The ship will be unmanned.

    The Guardian reports that the mission, dubbed Exploration Flight Test-1, will last approximately four and a half hours. After reaching its orbit, the Orion capsule will circle the planet twice, reaching a maximum altitude of 3,600 miles in the process. It will then proceed to commence a splash down landing in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California, where it will be recovered by NASA and the US Navy.

    The Orion capsule is seen as the first step in America’s plans to put people on Mars by the mid-2030s.

    According to The Daily Mail, the launch was originally set to commence on Wednesday, but a series of issues resulted in its delay until 12:05 GMT on Friday, December 5. The newspaper reports that the delay was caused by unfavorable weather conditions and some minor technical problems, which prompted the NASA crew to spend additional time re-testing the space capsule’s systems. In addition, a rogue boat strayed into the restricted area surrounding the launch pad, forcing NASA to abort the scheduled liftoff.

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    spacecraft, Orion, space exploration, NASA, California, Florida, United States
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