In just over a week, NASA takes another step closer to eventual manned missions to Mars with the first flight test of the Orion spacecraft. On Thursday, Dec. 4, viewers around the globe can watch online NASA TV coverage of the Orion rocket launch from the Kennedy Space Center.
Orion is the agency’s next-generation spacecraft that will ultimately carry astronauts to an asteroid and then onward to Mars. In the days and hours leading up to this first test flight of Orion, NASA will host a series of news conferences and flight test commentary on NASA TV, including the live online video stream of NASA TV seen below.
Watch NASA TV online live streaming video of Orion Launch and Mission:
This first launch of the Orion Spacecraft, designated Exploration Flight Test-1, will be unmanned and will be carried aloft by a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket. Lift-off is scheduled for 7:05 a.m. EST from Space Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. A launch window will be open for a little over two and a half hours that morning.
The NASA TV coverage on launch day begins at 4:30 a.m. and will continue through splashdown in the Pacific Ocean approximately 600 miles southwest of San Diego roughly 4.5 hours later.
During this test flight, Orion will orbit Earth twice from 3,600 miles above. From this first flight, NASA will have the opportunity to test many of the elements that pose the greatest risk to astronauts and will gather critical data needed to improve Orion’s design and reduce risks to future mission crews.
The NASA TV schedule below outlines the primary media events beginning two days before launch:
Tuesday, Dec. 2
•7 a.m. — Media tour of Kennedy facilities currently being prepared to support future launches of Orion and NASA’s Space Launch System
•Noon – Journey to Mars panel discussion on NASA TV from Kennedy and NASA Headquarters in Washington
•1 p.m. — Orion flight test status and overview briefing on NASA TV
Wednesday, Dec. 3
•8:30 a.m. — Media availability with NASA Administrator Charles Bolden at Space Launch Complex 37 with Orion and the Delta IV Heavy in the background
•11 a.m. — Prelaunch news conference on NASA TV
•1 to 3 p.m. — NASA Social – Orion Overview Event on NASA TV
A post-flight test briefing on NASA TV also will be held approximately two hours after splashdown on Dec. 4.