NASA has scrubbed the launch of the Orion spacecraft following several delays, including a fuel valve issue and wind conditions.
The valve issue came after three other delay — two because of windy conditions and also because of a boat in a restricted area right before the 7:05 a.m. launch time. NASA said teams couldn't troubleshoot an issue related to fill and drain valves on the Delta IV Heavy rocket by the time the launch window expired.
The next possible launch window opens at 7:05 a.m. Friday. The launch window extends until 9:44 a.m. If Friday's launch doesn't work, crews will try again Saturday morning.
Orion will orbit 3,600 miles above Earth before splashing down in the Pacific Ocean off Mexico's Baja coast. U.S Navy ships will recover the capsule for future use.
Lockheed Martin Corp. built the capsule and is staging the $370 million test flight for NASA.
Orion is NASA’s first new spacecraft for humans in more than a generation, succeeding the now-retired space shuttles. Unlike the capsules under development by two U.S. companies for space station crew transport, Orion is meant for the long haul, both in time and space; it would be supplemented with habitats for potential Mars trips.
Future Orion launches will use the mega rocket still under development by NASA, known as SLS or Space Launch System. The first Orion-SLS launch is targeted for 2018, unmanned, followed by the first piloted mission in 2021.
People gather to watch historic Orion launch
Hundreds of people gathered at Space View Park in Titusville will have to wait another day to see Orion soar into the morning sky. People traveled from all over to catch the historic launch, bringing blankets, pillows, chairs and cameras as they showed up in the early morning hours.
"The people are just excited," Bill Sudlow said. "They're from all over the country. You get to talk to them. It's been a really fun four hours."
Dan Molesky said he has seen delayed launches before.
"They have to do the right thing," Molesky said. "It's understandable but disappointing when you come out and want to see a good launch."
Many of the people said they plan to come back out Friday morning.
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