Over 500 people waited anxiously for the launch of Orion, only to leave the Denver Museum of Nature and Science disappointed this morning.After multiple delays due to wind and other issues, Orion …
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Over 500 people waited anxiously for the launch of Orion, only to leave the Denver Museum of Nature and Science disappointed this morning.
After multiple delays due to wind and other issues, Orion will stay put at Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida until another try early tomorrow morning. Once again there will be about a two-and-a-half hour launch window with the first attempt scheduled for 7:05 a.m. Eastern Time.
The Orion launch is part of National Aeronautics and Space Administration's goal of sending humans to asteroids and Mars. Once launched, Orion will orbit the earth twice before returning, spending about four-and-a-half hours in the atmosphere.
Orion is designed to go farther into space than ever before because of the help from many Colorado companies.
The spacecraft was designed by Jefferson-county based Lockheed Martin Space Systems with cameras and antennas provided by Ball Aerospace in Westminster and will hopefully launch into space on a Delta IV Heavy rocket made by United Launch Alliance, ULA, out of Centennial.
Lockheed Martin principle engineer Darrell Williams has been invested in space travel since college after watching Apollo 17 take off. He said since then he's worked to make sure men got back in space.
“Typically through the years we don't see this much excitement revolved around space,” he said. “So it's really great to see people actively engaged in what's going in the space program.”
Mark Walsh, of Denver, was up early for the launch, and not just for the fun of it. As an ULA employee, he worked on the admissions and separation systems for the rocket. He admits he was pretty anxious leading up to the end of the launch window, but is confident the spacecraft will make in the air tomorrow.
“It's a good vehicle, but it's a pretty big mission with a lot of stuff riding on it,” he said. “Hopefully Orion goes off at the start of the window tomorrow.”
Although the initial launch attempt failed, a group of 15 students from Girls Inc., a nonprofit that inspires girls to be strong, smart and bold and the watch party sponsor, had the chance to experience the excitement of a rocket launch. Girls Inc. partners with Lockheed Martin to provide STEM education mentoring programs.
Chris Homolac, a Lockheed Martin mentor, was excited to spend the morning with the rambunctious group of girls. Leading up to the watch party, the girls learned about rockets and even built and launched their own in a pilot program called Rocket Girls.
“The girls are already engaged in STEM and learning about rockets so it's really exciting for them to have the opportunity to experience a real launch and take it to the next level,” he said.
Orion's next mission, going around the moon, is set for 2017 followed by the first manned mission in 2021. Not until 2032 would Orion take flight for Mars, which would take 10 months to reach. The spacecraft has a maximum capacity of six people, but would mostly likely only host four.Tomorrow morning's launch will be streamed live on the NASA website, www.nasa.gov/orion.
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