CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — NASA stood poised to usher in a new era of exploration Thursday with the premier launch of its new Orion spacecraft.
The unmanned test flight was set to begin with a 7:55 a.m. EST liftoff after delays due to a boat straying into the launch-danger zone, a minor rocket issue that popped up and wind gusts.
Ultimately, it was an issue with fuel and drain valves that kept Orion grounded.
With a launch window that closed at 9:44 a.m. EST, NASA scrubbed the planned launch shortly after 9:30 a.m. EST, and planned another attempt for Friday.
Earlier in the morning, launch commentator Mike Curie stressed there would be “no show-stoppers,” noting the team had until midmorning to send Orion on its way.
It’s the first attempt to send a spacecraft capable of carrying humans beyond a couple hundred miles of Earth since the Apollo moon program.
The ultimate goal, in the decades ahead, is to use Orion to carry people to Mars and back.