Dec 5, 2014 7:05 a.m. EST
NASA’s Orion spacecraft was launched successfully on board a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket from Cape Canaveral’s Space Launch Complex 37. The Orion Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1), is the first test flight of NASA’s new deep space capsule, and is a critical next step in NASA’s future journeys to asteroids and Mars.
During the The 4.5 hour flight, Orion orbited the Earth twice, reaching a peak altitude of 5,800 km (3,600 miles). The spacecraft reached reentry speeds of up to 32,000 km/h (20,000 mph), exposing the heat shield to temperatures around 2,200 °C (4,000 °F) – 80% of the temperature it would experience during reentry from a lunar mission. The Orion capsule splashed down in the Pacific Ocean approximately 600 southwest of San Diego.
More on Orion: http://www.nasa.gov/orion/