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NASA’s newest spacecraft, Orion, was launched into space for the first time on 2014 December 5, on a flight that took it farther than any spacecraft built to carry humans had gone in more than 40 years and through temperatures twice as hot as molten lava to put its critical systems to the test.
Orion will serve as the exploration vehicle that will carry the crew to space, provide emergency abort capability, sustain the crew during the space travel, and provide safe re-entry from deep space return velocities.

On December 5, 2014, after an aborted launch the day before, Orion was launched atop a Delta IV-Heavy rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex SLC-37B: a two-orbit, four-hour flight that tested many of the systems most critical to safety. On this second try, the launch window was from 7:05am to 9:35am EST (12:05pm to 2:35pm UTC/GMT) and liftoff occurred on time. More on the launch sequence
The Orion Flight Test evaluated with success the launch and high speed re-entry systems such as avionics, attitude control, parachutes and the heat shield. In the future, Orion will launch on NASA’s new heavy-lift rocket, the Space Launch System. More powerful than any rocket ever built, SLS will be capable of sending humans to deep space destinations such as an asteroid and eventually Mars. Exploration Mission-1 will be the first mission to integrate Orion and the Space Launch System, the new heavy launcher and most powerful in history.

I attended the Orion Exploration Flight Test One launch from Cape Canaveral and did setup remote cameras at the launch pad (see footage below).
Special thanks to NASA and Ben Cooper for their assistance.


Click on thumbnails for a larger version

Orion Exploration Flight Test One Insignia
Journey To Mars
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New Countdown Display Press Site Orion Exploration Flight Test One Mission
New countdown display at the Press site


View from the NASA Causeway, about 3 miles away from the launch pad, of the Orion Exploration Flight Test One (EFT-1) launch on 2014 December 5 at 7:05am EST
[requires an H.264/MPEG-4 decoder: Windows users can install the Windows Essentials Codec Pack]


View from the KSC Space Launch Complex 37B, where my remote camera was some 900 feet from the rocket, of the Orion Exploration Flight Test One (EFT-1) launch on 2014 December 5 at 7:05am EST
[requires an H.264/MPEG-4 decoder: Windows users can install the Windows Essentials Codec Pack]

Viewing Location Launch Pad SLC-37B Orion Exploration Flight Test One Mission
Nearest viewing locations for the launch pad SLC-37B

Remote Camera Location Launch Pad SLC-37B Orion Exploration Flight Test One Mission
Nearest remote camera locations on the launch pad SLC-37B

Orion Exploration Flight Test One Mission Liftoff Launch Pad SLC-37B
Orion Exploration Flight Test One mission liftoff from the launch pad SLC-37B (900 feet or 290 meters from the Delta IV Heavy rocket)

Myself Launch Pad SLC-37B Orion Exploration Flight Test One Mission Delta IV Heavy
Myself at the launch pad SLC-37B in front of the Delta IV Heavy

Delta IV Heavy Night Launch Pad SLC-37B Orion Exploration Flight Test One Mission
Delta IV Heavy with Orion atop at night on the launch pad SLC-37B

US Air Force Blackhawk Helicopter
US Air Force Blackhawk helicopter

Orion Exploration Flight Test One Mission Liftoff Launch Pad SLC-37B NASA Causeway
Orion Exploration Flight Test One mission liftoff from the launch pad SLC-37B (viewed from the NASA Causeway, 3 miles away)

Orion Exploration Flight Test One Mission Liftoff Launch Pad SLC-37B NASA Causeway
Orion Exploration Flight Test One mission liftoff from the launch pad SLC-37B (viewed from the NASA Causeway, 3 miles away)

Orion Exploration Flight Test One Mission Liftoff Launch Pad SLC-37B NASA Causeway
Orion Exploration Flight Test One mission liftoff from the launch pad SLC-37B (viewed from the NASA Causeway, 3 miles away)

Orion Exploration Flight Test One Mission Liftoff Launch Pad SLC-37B NASA Causeway
Orion Exploration Flight Test One mission through the cloud cover (viewed from the NASA Causeway, 3 miles away)

Exhaust Nozzle Orion Exploration Flight Test One Mission Liftoff Launch Pad SLC-37B NASA Causeway
Exhaust nozzles of the Orion Exploration Flight Test One mission through the cloud cover (viewed from the NASA Causeway, 3 miles away)

Orion Exploration Flight Test One Mission Orbit
Orion Exploration Flight Test One mission in orbit

Orion Exploration Flight Test One Mission Diagram
Orion Exploration Flight Test One mission diagram


Orion: trial by fire


Launch pad LSC-37B for the Orion Exploration Flight Test One mission

Launch sequence:
L-8 hours 15 minutes - Mobile Service Tower First Motion
L-4 hours 30 minutes - Delta IV Heavy Fueling Begins
L-2 hours 35 minutes - NASA TV Coverage Begins
L-1 hour 55 minutes - Landing Weather Briefing
L-0 hours 30 minutes - Launch Weather Briefing
L-0 hours 19 minutes - Terminal Countdown Hold
L-0 hours 16 minutes - Orion Go or No-go Poll for Launch
L-0 hours 8 minutes - Orion on Internal Power
L-0 hours 8 minutes - Delta Go or No-go Poll for Launch
L-0 hours 4 minutes - Terminal Countdown Begins
L-0 hours 0 minutes - Liftoff!
L+1 minute 23 seconds - Max Q
L+1 minute 25 seconds - Mach 1
L+3 minutes 56 seconds - Port and Starboard Common Booster Cores Jettisoned
L+5 minutes 30 seconds - Main Engine Cutoff (MECO)
L+5 minutes 33 seconds - First Stage Separation
L+5 minutes 49 seconds - Second Stage Ignition #1
L+6 minutes 15 seconds - Service Module (SM) Fairing Separation
L+6 minutes 20 seconds - Launch Abort System Jettison
L+17 minutes 39 seconds - Secondary Engine Cutoff (SECO-1) #1
L+1 hour 55 minutes 26 seconds - Second Stage Ignition #2
L+2 hours 0 minutes 09 seconds - Secondary Engine Cutoff (SECO-2) #2

Diagram Mission Profile Ground Trace Orion EFT-1
EFT-1 mission profile and ground trace
NASA Orion EFT-1 Mission Pass
Orion EFT-1 mission pass

NASA SATERN Training
E-mail for the NASA SATERN training

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Last page update on November 6, 2014.
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