Soon humans may get the opportunity to fly into outer space aboard one of the newest space shuttles. The Orion Space Capsule took off on Friday with its second attempt after its first attempt on Thursday was scrapped due to valve failures, strong winds, and a boat downrange. The newest capsule is a United Launch Alliance Delta 4 Heavy rocket which is considered one of the most powerful rockets on the planet. The aircraft was unmanned and was being testing as a potential vehicle for space explorations. The space capsule took off at 7:05am from Cape Canaveral and was expected to return around 4.5 hours later in the Pacific Ocean.
The space shuttle is specifically built to transport humans from a low orbit Earth site. This hasn’t happened in over 40 years and NASA has been very excited to see the results of the mission. They expected around 27,000 spectators to come out and watch the launch, but after being delayed, they weren’t sure just how many made it back on Friday.
The mission has been heavily compared to the Apollo mission who helped put humans in space from the beginning. A shuttle has not been built for human travel since and many are reminiscent of the past Apollo missions.
NASA will be following the space capsule very closely to see how it reacts during its trip. The shuttle is expected to orbit the Earth twice during the expedition. NASA will be following data that is tracked on the conditions from inside the capsule and conditions on the outside of the capsule. The main objective of this mission is to ensure the safety of any humans who climb aboard this space shuttle to head out into space. The capsule is set to go on another test trip sometime in 2017 or 2018.