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SYFY WIRE Bad Astronomy

OK, Let’s Try This Again

By Phil Plait

Yesterday, a multitude of problems prevented the launch of NASA's Orion crew capsule on a Delta IV Heavy rocket, including a boat in the red zone (in the area downrange of the launch), high winds, and finally a problem with stuck valves in the fuel tanks.

The second launch attempt will be at 12:05 UTC (07:05 Eastern time) Friday morning, Dec. 5. As before, the launch window is well over two hours long. 

Update, Dec. 5, 2014, at 14:50 UTC: LIFTOFF! The Delta IV Heavy carrying Orion launched on time at 07:05 local time, and as I write this the mission is going very well. Orion looped around Earth once, then the second stage booster ignited again, pushing it into its second orbit with an apogee (max distance from Earth) of 5,810 km (3,600 miles), as planned, which it should reach at 15:10 UTC. Splashdown is expected at 16:30 UTC (11:30 Eastern) or so. 

Update 2, Dec. 5, 2014, at 16:00 UTC: NASA has released a pretty dang cool video of launch, which cuts to the onboard rocketcams. This is worth watching.

Update 3, Dec. 5, 2014, at 16:30 UTC: At 16:29 UTC, the Orion capsule splashed down in the Pacific Ocean, right on target.  

As I did yesterday, I'm embedding the NASA Ustream channel below, and you can also try NASA TV. I wound up watching yesterday's attempt on the NASA TV channel, since I found the online streams delayed by as much as a minute. 

Accuweather is saying the weather may not be much better for launch today, I'll note. We'll see. In the meantime, I have a post about the launch with links to more info as well. If the launch is delayed again, at least you'll have something to read!

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