Orion team will be cautious in launch, but not in flight

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KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (WHNT) - The Orion test launch failed to get off the ground Thursday morning.

A series of issues, natural and technical delayed the launch.

For one, winds proved a major obstacle, particularly because they came from an unexpected direction. That caused bigger problems than you may realize.

United Launch Alliance COO Dan Collins notes, "You get one profile this way and another one [another] way, and so which side of that rocket the wind is blowing on, it's either blowing on a knife or it's blowing on a garage door. It makes a big difference."

Wind made the launch take longer than expected, which lead to trouble with a valve, leaving the gathered masses disappointed, perhaps with a feeling that some of the caution might be excessive for a test flight.

But once they get to the place we've only imagined so far, they'll cut loose with some of the caution.

NASA's Orion Program Manager Mark Geyer points out, "The great thing about EFT-1 is that it's unmanned, and so we are pushing on the systems to make sure they work as we expect."

The test itself is designed to be no holds barred.

Geyer continues, "We actually structured the test to fly the riskiest pieces of the flight. This is the time to do it, when it's unmanned. So we intend to stress the systems and make sure they behave the way we designed it to or as we modeled it."

So if it seems like they're playing it safe on the ground, know they'll open up the playbook in the heavens.

We just need some patience to get there.

Collins sums up the morning, "The team was absolutely on their game listening to everything the rocket was telling us. It ultimately told us it wasn't ready to go today. We'll go make sure we've got a happy rocket, and as soon as we do that, we're going to get back to the pad and send Orion off to a very, very successful test flight."

Because when it comes to daring space adventures, risk is just another carefully measured and controlled variable.

The launch window opens up again just after 6 a.m. central time Friday morning.

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