November 24, 2014 6:16 pm
Updated: December 1, 2014 4:26 pm

Orion spacecraft another step closer to Dec. 4 launch

Orion, aboard the Delta IV Heavy, seen here in this artist's concept.

NASA
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TORONTO – The test launch of the vehicle that will take humans to Mars got the green light from the Flight Readiness Review this week.

Orion’s test launch — which will be unmanned — is scheduled for Dec. 4 at 7:05 a.m. This historic flight marks the first time a vehicle designed for human long-duration space travel has been tested since Apollo in the 1960s.

READ MORE: 5 reasons to get excited about NASA’s Orion launch

NASA, along with Lockheed Martin who built the spacecraft, gave the “go” for launch after testing the space craft’s systems. On Monday, the spacecraft’s electrical systems were tested.

This launch, called the Exploration Test Flight-1 (EFT-1), is the first in the Orion mission which will eventually take humans to Mars and asteroids.

NASA’s Orion spacecraft sits on top of the Delta IV Heavy launch vehicle at Space Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

NASA

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The European Space Agency will build the service module that will provide propulsion, power, as well as power and gas in the habitable module that will be joined to Orion on the long-duration trip.

Humans have not set foot on another celestial body since 1972 when the final Apollo mission left the moon.

Orion: The heat shield that will protect humans

NASA has outlined a bold mission of sending humans on a trip to Mars. It would mark the first time anyone has ever set foot on another planet. The goal is to get us there by the 2030s. Before Mars, however, NASA plans to take humans to an asteroid — by 2025. And Orion is the ship that will bring us home.

Join us for live coverage of the launch on Dec. 4 at Global News.

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