Latest Update as on December 5th, 2014:
NASA has postpone its much hyped next-generation spacecraft Orion's launch. The Thursday morning's launch, after a series of delays, was cancelled due to boat and valve glitch. Some liquid-oxygen fuel and drain valves failed to open during the countdown. The launch has now been rescheduled for Friday, Dec. 5 at 7:05 a.m. EST.
Another factor which did not allow the launch to take place is weather. Several attempts were made for the launch but strong winds stopped the Orion launch. The weather forecast for Friday is even worse. With just 40% chance of fair weather conditions, NASA may be forced to further reschedule the launch.
December 4th, 2014:
Lately, a lot has been happening weather wise in the United States. Fortunately just a day before the launch of NASA's Orion spacecraft, the weather conditions at Cape Canaveral, Florida seem favourable. It is less likely to rain which will further help in the successful launch. The first test flight launch of the Orion spacecraft is scheduled at 7:05 a.m. on December 4th.
This capsule which has been assembled as well as tested at the Lockheed Martin's Vertical Testing Facility in Colorado will travel to a distance of 3600 miles from the Earth. It will take two laps around the planet earth before re entering the earth's atmosphere. The capsule which has been designed to carry humans outside the earth's orbit is coupled with a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket. This rocket will carry Orion into space.
This test launch will not be carrying any astronauts and will only last for 4 and a half hours. The capsule will re enter the atmosphere at a speed of 20,000 mph. The capsule will fall into the Pacific Ocean nearly 600 miles off the coast of Baja, California. Orion will deploy 11 capsules to slow its comedown into Earth's atmosphere before it falls into the ocean. The capsule will be recovered with the help of the USS Anchorage, the USNS Salvor and Two U.S. Navy ships.
Orion which has been designed to take humans to an asteroid and on to Mars is an important mission for NASA. If the test launch is successful NASA will get closer to its dream of being a tough competitor in the manned spaceflight run.
Meanwhile, Japan with the launch of Hayabusa 2 has already begun its journey to land asteroid 1993 JU3 in 2018. India, is also not far behind and is all set to launch the GSLV Mark III which will be ISRO's most powerful rocket which will take humans to space. This shows that even third world countries are in the race of the manned spaceflight run.