Thursday, NASA embarks on a major milestone for human spaceflight — the test launch of the Orion spacecraft, which will launch atop a United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket form Space Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral in Florida. The winners of Space Apps 2014 are flying in from around the world to witness this historic test launch. Orion will soar 3,600 miles above Earth — farther than any human-rated spacecraft has ventured in since the days of Apollo missions. The spacecraft will log nearly 60,000 miles during her two-orbit, 4.5 hour fight, prior to splashdown in the Pacific Ocean. NASA is developing the Orion spacecraft to send humans to deep space. This test flight has two primary goals: 1) testing  the heat shield, parachutes, avionics and attitude control; and 2) exposing the spacecraft to the orbital environment of deep space.

Orion test flight

In addition to witnessing history, Space Apps winners will have an opportunity to meet each other, tour the Kennedy Center Visitor Center (and see our beloved Atlantis Space Shuttle in her retirement pose), and perhaps even catch a glimpse of an alligator…or two. If you want to be part of a winning team next year, we’d love to have you participate. We’re just now gearing up our challenge process. We’d love to have you host an event. We’re accepting applications now.

If you can’t come with us to the launch, you can watch it live via NASA TV. Feel free to share the experience using #Orion, #JourneyToMars, and, of course, #SpaceApps.




About Beth

Open Innovation Program Manager

NASA Headquarters