The Delta IV Heavy rocket with the Orion spacecraft lifts off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Florida Dec. 5, 2014.
Scott Audette/Reuters

NASA’s Orion has ‘most perfect flight’

3…2..1… Liftoff!

On Friday morning, NASA’s Orion deep space capsule lifted off for its first robotic test flight and splashed down into the Pacific Ocean for a perfect landing four-and-a-half hours later.

The unmanned capsule achieved one record: flying farther and faster than any capsule has since the Apollo moon program. Orion took to two laps around Earth and then plunged back into Earth’s atmosphere at 20,000 mph engulfed in purposeful fire that scorched the heat shield to 3,000 digress Fahrenheit.

“Here’s your new spacecraft, America,” Mission Control’s Rob Navias said as Orion neared the Pacific Ocean. Calling this journey “the most perfect flight you could ever imagine,” NASA is counting on future Orion’s to bring astronauts farther than we have ever been, to asteroids and eventually Mars.

Politicians took to Twitter to share in NASA’s excitement

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NASA's Orion has 'most perfect flight'