Orion spacecraft takes Super Guppy ride to Kennedy Space Center

FOX 35 News at 5 p.m.

- A three-mile long runway was used on Monday to deliver NASA's next generation space capsule to the Kennedy Space Center, ahead of its historic deep space test launch.  NASA flew Orion's pressure capsule, essentially an empty shell of the spacecraft, aboard it's Super Guppy aircraft.  

The Super Guppy is a large cargo plane capable of carrying 26 tons of hardware. You immediately notice it's fish-like design with a larger area in he front of the aircraft. That's where the Orion spacecraft was housed on its flight from NASA's Michoud facility in Louisiana to Florida.

The nose of the spacecraft was opened, but NASA was not moving Orion until later in the evening. After that wsa expected to happen, the manufacturer, which is Lockheed Martin, will begin installing tons of flight hardware and avionics computers -- everything that Orion needs for its first test launch aboard a space launch system (SLS) rocket that will send it on three-week test mission out to the moon and back. This will help develop the core capabilities needed to eventually to Mars.

NASA has a lot of work to do before this test launch happens, currently slated for some time in 2018.  Also, no astronauts will fly on the test launch, as it's purpose is to test its ability to keep humans alive on a deep space missions, among other tasks. 

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