That’s a photo from Orion’s test flight earlier this week. NASA’s first manned spacecraft since the space shuttle, Orion is step one in a journey that we’ve wandered down no less than three times; putting humanity on Mars. I remember reading the issue of Spaceflight Magazine detailing Pathfinder, the President Bush-led initiative.
The first President Bush.
I remember his son rolling out what felt a lot like the exact same operation with the serial numbers filed off too.
But this time feels different. Orion is crewed, and the plan is it will be the workhorse to get us to orbit and out to Mars on a larger craft. Now I’ve been around long enough to know that probably means ‘get us to orbit and with a tremendous effort and almost impossibly good luck, the Moon’ but that doesn’t matter.
What matters is that it got off the pad, circled the Earth and came home.
What matters is that, after a year that saw the tragic death of a Spaceship Two crewmember and the loss of an Antares? This one made it off world and back again.
Orion’s cleared the tower. And so have we, again. Here’s the proof, and here’s your Sunday Moment of Zen.