Nasa is preparing for the last attempt to launch the Orion mission this afternoon, taking the final chance in the 3 hours launch window, after a range of problems hit the test flight for the capsule that could one day take humans to an asteroid or to Mars.
The launch was delayed four times this morning, after a rogue boat first found its way into the water around the launch area in Cape Canaveral, Florida, and then strong winds led the launch to be postponed again. A fourth attempt was delayed after fuel valves failed to close.
All of the systems on the mission remain in good condition, Nasa said, and they will look to re-launch the mission as soon as the external problems are solved.
Nasa said that it was then targetting a launch at 7.55am local time, or 12.55pm GMT. But in the leadup to that launch, an automatic system detected that there there was too much wind and cancelled the countdown.
The agency said that they would try again for a fourth launch. The weather is expected to change at around 1.4pm GMT, which Nasa says could bring more favourable conditions.
But that launch ran into problems, as fuel valves failed to close and the countdown was cancelled once again.
Some in the lead-up to the launch had expected that the weather could cause it to be delayed, Nasa said on its live feed. The agency said earlier this week that there was a 60% chance that the weather would hold and the launch would happen successfully.
The mission's success will be important to Nasa, as it will test the capsule that could one day land humans on an asteroid or on Mars.
“There's a boat in the launch area,” Nasa said on Twitter, minutes before the rocket was supposed to take off. “Teams are working to remove the boat from the area.”
Nasa set a new launch for 7.17am local time, or 12.17pm GMT, after the boat was removed.
Where to explore in the solar system
Where to explore in the solar system
1/10 Mars - Olympus Mons
Olympus Mons is the largest volcano in the Solar System. At 22km high Olympus Mons is nearly three times as high as Mt Everest
2/10 Mars - Mount Sharp
Mount Sharp is the current focus point of the Mars Science Laboratory’s Curiosity rover. Sitting at the forefront of Martian research this location will hopefully unlock the secrets of Mars’s past.
3/10 Ida and Dactyl
Nestled deep within the asteroid belt is the asteroid 243 Ida. During a fly by of the Galileo space probe it was discovered that Ida had a companion. Orbiting around Ida was a tiny moon that was named Dactyl.
4/10 Jupiter - The Red Spot
Getting tired of leisurely cruises through the Caribbean? Why not float a dirigible through one of the oldest known storms in the Solar System. Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is large enough to contain three Earths and has been present for over 300 years.
5/10 Moon - Sea of Tranquility
As the landing site of the first ever humans to set foot on the Moon who wouldn’t want to walk in the footsteps on Neil Armstrong on the Sea of Tranquility?
6/10 Europa - Underwater seas
Europa’s underwater seas are one of the strongest candidates for potential life outside Earth. Scientists are waiting the day we can probe their icy depths.
7/10 Titan - Methane Lakes
Saturn’s Moon Titan is home to a nice thick atmosphere. Similar to the Earth it supports a full weather cycle. Unlike the Earth, rather than using water, Titan’s cycle is based on methane, often found in gas cookers here on Earth.
8/10 Mimas, the Death Moon
What better location for a holiday snap. The large Herschel crater on Mimas gives this moon an appearance of a certain dark lords ultimate weapon. When viewed from the right angle it appears that the Death Star is in orbit around Saturn.
The thick clouds of Venus make it an extremely mysterious place. It also has some of the most extreme weather we can find. Runaway greenhouse gases have shrouded the planet in a thick layer of cloud, heating it to nearly 600°C. It is also home to sulphuric acid rain and crushing atmospheric pressure. Make sure you pack a sturdy umbrella!
10/10 Oceans of Earth
One of the most unexplored places in the Solar System is our own oceans. 70% of the Earth is covered in ocean and as of yet we have only explored around 10% of them. With so much water to explore who knows what we may find lurking in the depths.
The launch window extends for just under 3 hours, which will mean that the launch could happen any time until 2.44pm GMT.
The first delay was announced only around 5 minutes before the scheduled launch, and was announced on Nasa’s live feed, which can be viewed here. The delay was clearly unexpected by Nasa’s live commenter, who went quiet and gave way to mission control who — in a jargon-heavy conversation — discussed the removal of the boat and setting the new launch time.Reuse content