Orion spacecraft: launch gets go ahead as Nasa tries again, but likely to be postponed once more

There’s a roughly 40% chance that the weather will be right to try again today, Nasa has said, after the launch was postponed yesterday

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Nasa has given the go ahead to try to launch the Orion capsule into space, again, after yesterday’s launch had to be postponed because of high winds and a rogue boat. But a weather front is approaching the Florida launchpad, which is likely to cause the mission to be called off again.

The United Launch Alliance — which built the rocket and includes Lockheed Martin, which built Orion — has begun preparations for the launch, and is currently filling the rocket with liquid hydrogen.

Takeoff is scheduled for 12.05pm GMT, the same time as yesterday’s postponed launch. Nasa will have the same 2-hour, 39-minute window in which to launch the test.

There is around a 40% chance that the weather will be right for the launch to happen, Air Force weather forecasters said this morning. That was lowered from yesterday’s estimates, because of rain moving up from the south — if that means that it rains or there are similarly strong winds to yesterday, the launch won’t be able to proceed.

The spacecraft was supposed to take off yesterday, but the launch was beset by problems. A rogue boat, strong winds and a broken fuel valve all meant that Nasa was unable to launch the ship before the launch window, which is about three hours, passed.

  The success of the launch is important to Nasa and the spacecraft’s manufacturers, Lockheed Martin, because it could make or break future manned missions to Mars and asteroids, as well as commercial space travel.