MOFFETT FIELD (CBS SF) – NASA is trying to launch the next generation of technology with the maiden test flight of the Orion spacecraft.

The launch was originally scheduled for Thursday, but was postponed due to a valve issue.

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The launch takes place at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and will splashdown in the Pacific about 600 miles southwest of San Diego, the same time originally planned as Thursday.

The first flight test of Orion, NASA’s next-generation spacecraft that will send astronauts to an asteroid and onward to Mars. The flight is expected to take four and a half hours.  NASA Ames researchers at Moffett Field played a big part in developing the technology.

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“Exploration Flight Test-1, Orion will travel farther than any crewed spacecraft has gone in more than 40 years, before returning to Earth at speeds near 20,000 mph and generating temperatures up to 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Ames contributed significantly to research, development and testing in the areas of aerodynamics and thermophysics which will make successful flights of Orion possible,” Ames officials said in a release.

For more information on the event at Ames, visit the website.

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