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[i]Next to the site where America's space and missile program began more than 60 years ago, NASA technicians were busy Friday preparing for the next generation of space flight.
Covered in a yellow thermal blanket -- to protect it from the wind and spotty rain, and to keep its 4,000 pounds of fuel at a cool temperature -- the 55.58-foot tall Orion space exploration vehicle stood poised for its first test flight. Jay Estes, deputy manager of the Orion Flight Test Office, at NASA's Johnson Space Center, in Houston, said that historical first flight is now scheduled for 7 a.m. May 6. The flight will be at WSMR's Launch Complex 32, a short distance west of where the first American V-2 rocket lifted off, from Launch Complex 33.
...the greatest concern among NASA officials is inclement weather. It is a primary reason why the 7 a.m. launch on May 6 is listed as tentative.
"There's a 74 percent chance of launch on that first day," [director of NASA's Exploration Mission Directorate Brent] Cobleigh said. "For the two days that improves to a 95 percent chance."[/i]
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