Update for Dec. 5 at 12:45 p.m. EST: NASA's Orion space capsule has passed its first test flight with flying colors after a smooth launch and even smoother splashdown. Today. See how the 4.5-hour Exploration Test Flight 1 mission unfolded here.
Orion has complete on its first uncrewed test flight. The history-making test, marks the first time a spacecraft built for humans will leave low-Earth orbit in more than 40 years. Launch Story / Launch Video / Orion Test Flight Photos
The Orion spacecraft — built for NASA by Lockheed Martin — is designed to take humans deeper into space than ever before. Officials hope that future versions of the spacecraft will transport astronauts to deep space destinations like Mars or an asteroid towed into orbit around the moon. Scroll down for more stories, video and photos from the launch:
Photos and Multimedia:
Friday, Dec. 4
Splashdown! NASA's Orion Spaceship Survives Epic Test Flight as New Era Begins
America has a new spaceship as NASA's Orion spacecraft passed its first unmanned test flight on Friday, Dec. 5. See how the mission unfolded from its launch in Florida to a smooth splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.
Splashdown! Orion Lands In Pacific Ocean
Orion, NASA's first space capsule since Apollo, splashes down in the Pacific Ocean after a smooth test flight on Dec. 5, 2014.
NASA Launches First Orion Deep-Space Capsule in Historic Test Flight
With a mighty roar, a Delta 4 Heavy rocket launched NASA's first Orion spacecraft on a test flight to check major systems. The unmanned launch marked the beginning of NASA's first deep-space mission with a crew vehicle since December 1972.
Blast-Off! Orion Capsule Launches Aboard Delta IV Rocket
See launch video of NASA's Orion spacecraft as it blasts off atop a Delta 4 Heavy rocket on the Exploration Flight Test 1 mission.
NASA to Make 2nd Attempt to Launch Orion Space Capsule: Watch It Live
It's Round 2 for NASA's Orion spacecraft as the space agency attempts to launch its first new space capsule in more than 40 years. Here's how to follow it online.
Thursday, Dec. 4
NASA's 1st Orion Deep-Space Capsule Launch Delayed by Rocket Glitch
Stuck fuel valves on its Delta 4 Heavy rocket prevented NASA's first Orion spacecraft from launching on the Exploration Test Flight 1 mission on Dec. 4. Here's what happened.
The launch debut of NASA's first deep-space capsule in more than 40 years will have to wait at least another day after a series of delays thwarted repeated liftoff attempts on Thursday (Dec. 4).
NASA Admin. Takes Hard Questions from Space.com
Do Orion and SLS only exist to provide jobs on Earth? Is Orion a capability without a real mission? Could Orion fly atop a SpaceX booster?NASA Chief Maj. Gen. Charlie Bolden handles these and others with Space.com’s @DavidSkyBrody.
Final Countdown! NASA's Orion Spacecraft by the Numbers
The countdown has begun for the first test flight of NASA's Orion spacecraft. Here's our own by-the-numbers countdown for Orion.
Wednesday, Dec. 3
NASA's 21st-Century Space Capsule to Make Launch Debut Thursday
Orion, NASA's new manned spacecraft, is all set to make its first uncrewed flight test on Thursday, Dec. 4. Here's the latest from NASA.
Elmo's Excited About The Orion Test Flight | Exclusive Interview
Space.com's @TariqJMalik and NASA's @Astro_Ricky talk to the furry little sesame street character about the Exploration Flight Test 1 (EFT-1) mission at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Drones and Planes Will Live-Track NASA's Orion Capsule Launch
NASA and the U.S. Navy plan to launch at least five other aircraft along with the Orion space capsule to monitor and record data from Thursday's mission.
Orion Spacecraft Launch on Thursday a Big Leap Toward Mars, NASA Says
The first test flight of NASA's new Orion spacecraft this week marks a critical step on humanity's journey to Mars, agency officials say.
Social Media: NASA's Not-So-Secret Weapon for Orion Test Flight
NASA's landmark Orion spacecraft test flight this week will cap one of the largest social media campaigns in the space agency's history. Here's why.
NASA's Orion Inspires the Hulk, Star Trek's Uhura and Elmo on YouTube (Videos)
When you think of NASA, you don't usually think Hollywood, but several actors — and even Muppets —have pledged their support for the Orion spacecraft test flight.
Tuesday, Dec. 2
How NASA's Landmark Orion Spacecraft Test Flight Will Work
NASA's Dec. 4 test of its Orion space capsule comes with many risks and rewards. Here's how the daring test should work.
Step-by-Step Guide for NASA's 1st Orion Spacecraft Test Flight
See how NASA's Orion EFT-1 space capsule test flight will work in this step-by-step guide from the U.S. space agency.
Star Trek, Marvel and Apollo Mementos Launching on NASA's Orion This Week
NASA's first Orion spacecraft test flight will launch icons of science fiction when it blasts off on Dec. 4. What's aboard from Star Trek, Marvel and more.
Orion Capsule Will Sport 'Glass Cockpit' To Minimize Weight | Video
The 'dashboard' or user interface of NASA's next-generation capsule will have a digital display. The capsule will also have about 60 physical switches.
Weather Looks Good for NASA's Orion Spacecraft Test Flight Thursday
Officials are predicting a 60 percent chance that weather will be favorable for the Orion space capsule's first test flight scheduled for Thursday (Dec. 4).
Monday, Dec. 1
NASA's 1st Deep-Space Capsule in 40 Years Ready for Launch Debut
A spaceship built to carry humans is about to venture into deep space for the first time in more than four decades.
Sunday, Nov. 30
NASA to Launch First Orion Spaceship Test Flight This Week
Learn how to watch many of the events leading up to the first test flight of NASA's Orion space capsule live online all week.
Wednesday, Nov. 26
Sesame Street Muppets Counting Down to NASA Orion Launch
"Sesame Street's" beloved muppets have joined forces with NASA to promote the space agency's test flight of the Orion capsule on Dec. 4.
Tuesday, Nov. 25
NASA Clears Orion Spacecraft for 1st Test Flight Next Week
Officials have given the Orion space capsule a "go" for its unmanned test flight expected to launch next Thursday (Dec. 4).
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Space.com is the premier source of space exploration, innovation and astronomy news, chronicling (and celebrating) humanity's ongoing expansion across the final frontier. Originally founded in 1999, Space.com is, and always has been, the passion of writers and editors who are space fans and also trained journalists. Our current news team consists of Editor-in-Chief Tariq Malik; Editor Hanneke Weitering, Senior Space Writer Mike Wall; Senior Writer Meghan Bartels; Senior Writer Chelsea Gohd, Senior Writer Tereza Pultarova and Staff Writer Alexander Cox, focusing on e-commerce. Senior Producer Steve Spaleta oversees our space videos, with Diana Whitcroft as our Social Media Editor.