The Orion capsule, which is unmanned but has the capacity to support astronauts in future missions, is currently orbiting the Earth. Its 4.5 hour flight will take it out past the low Earth orbit of the International Space Station, testing the capabilities of a craft that could be the next step in humankind’s journey to Mars.
If you missed the launch (which is understandable, since it took place at 7:05am EST), you can watch it here, courtesy of NASA’s YouTube channel.
NASA has been posting updates from the mission all morning, including photos taken from Orion itself. If you tune in to NASA TV online, you may catch some glimpses of footage being sent down from the spacecraft during orbit.
The next major event of the mission will be Orion’s return to Earth, when it will splash down into the Pacific Ocean just off the coast of California. Its descent will be tracked by two Navy airplanes and a drone, which will be broadcasting live as Orion re-enters the atmosphere.
Photo via NASA