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Orion on the pad: NASA rolls out next-gen space capsule for first test flight
[i]NASA's first space-bound Orion capsule has arrived at the launch pad, where it will lift off in early December on an uncrewed test flight in support of NASA's plans for future astronaut missions beyond Earth orbit.
The gumdrop-shaped spacecraft, encased within a white aerodynamic shell and topped by a launch escape tower, rolled up to the base of Space Launch Complex (SLC) 37B at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 3:07 a.m. EST (0807 GMT) on Wednesday (Nov. 12).
The capsule, which is set to embark on Dec. 4 on NASA's Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1), rode out to the pad atop a multi-wheeled transporter. A banner hung on the front of the vehicle read, "Neil Armstrong Operations & Checkout Building 'I'm On Board,'" referencing the building where the spacecraft was assembled.
"I gotta tell you, this is special," Bob Cabana, the director of NASA's Kennedy Space Center and a former astronaut, told reporters during a press conference on Monday. "This is our first step on the journey to Mars."[/i]
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