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NASA delays Orion launch following weather, technical difficulties

Don't worry, the Orion spacecraft lives on to launch another day.


Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Internet Culture

Posted on Dec 4, 2014   Updated on May 30, 2021, 1:47 am CDT

NASA’s Orion test flight failed to launch.

The Orion capsule was scheduled to blast off at 7:05am ET and orbit the Earth twice before splashing down off the coast of California, but after two and a half hours of technical problems and weather issues, the mission was postponed until Friday morning.

The first sign of trouble was a boat in the launch area, which had to be cleared before Orion could lift off. Once that was out of the way, the launch was further delayed by strong winds near the site.

The Orion launch had a window of opportunity that lasted between 7:05am and 9:45am ET. With an hour and a half to go, NASA engineers noticed that two valves on the craft’s boosters had failed to close. This delayed the launch time even further, as they had to “cycle” all of the rocket’s valves to make sure they were opening and closing correctly.

As delays continued, space-watchers made jokes to pass the time.

At 9:35am, the launch director announced, “Recommend we scrub today,” and the mission was officially postponed.

For the many people watching live on social media and via NASA TV, this made for some disappointing viewing. But for a mission with this kind of budget—particularly one that requires the spacecraft to return intact for future launches—this level of caution is understandable. You can tune in at 7am Friday to watch NASA’s next launch attempt.

Photo via NASA

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*First Published: Dec 4, 2014, 12:21 pm CST