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space stuff

NASA delays test launch of Orion spacecraft

NASA was scheduled to launch its Orion spacecraft for a test flight on Thursday morning, but a series of delays have forced the launch to be pushed back to Friday.

The Orion launch will be the first test of the spacecraft, which will take humans farther into space than ever before, including to Mars, starting in 2021 (and to Mars in the 2030s). The Exploration Flight Test 1 (EFT-1) will be four and a half hours long. It won't carry humans, though — the flight will "check critical systems that can't be fully tested on Earth, including the craft's heat shield and parachutes," NBC News reports.

After an unauthorized boat was located in a restricted area of the rocket range, forcing an initial delay, high ground winds led to another delay. After a third delay, the scientists pushed the mission back to Friday.

NASA isn't deterred by Thursday's setbacks, though. "We're now on the way to Mars, and that's what's most important," NASA administrator Charles Bolden told NBC News.