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space stuff

NASA launches next-generation Orion spacecraft, which will one day fly to Mars

NASA launched its Orion spacecraft on a critical four-and-a-half-hour test flight on Friday morning. The launch comes after a series of delays on Thursday, when the launch was originally scheduled.

The uncrewed spacecraft, sitting on top of a Delta rocket, took 17 minutes to reach orbit after leaving Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and it will travel twice around the Earth before splashing down in the Pacific.

NASA called the launch "history in the making," because Orion is intended to fly astronauts into space as early as 2021, first to an asteroid and, in the 2030s, to Mars.