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Orion’s flawless first flight boosts Florida’s Space Coast

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Orion Launch

Orion blasts off atop a Delta IV Heavy rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Photo: KennedySpaceCenter.com

Orion blasts off atop a Delta IV Heavy rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Photo: KennedySpaceCenter.com

Orion’s flawless first mission is a good sign for the survival of NASA’s deep space exploration program.

And it’s also part of the Space Coast’s economic revival in the post-shuttle era.

The Orion lift-off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station last Friday hearkened back to the big launches of the shuttle program.

Economic analyst Hank Fishkind says NASA’s new deep space capsule won’t replace the shuttle in terms of jobs for the Space Coast.

But, he says, it’s still important.

“And now we have the beginnings of a new space program for the United States, and that adds to the private space programs that have been expanding at the Cape. And so the two things together have both short-term and longer-term implications, and they can build upon each other.”

NASA aims to use Orion to send astronauts to an asteroid and eventually to Mars.

Meanwhile private contractors are preparing to take astronauts to the International Space Station. Those launches are scheduled to start from the Space Coast in 2017.

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Amy Green

About Amy Green

Reporter and Producer

Amy Green covers the environment and climate change at WMFE News. She is an award-winning journalist and author whose extensive reporting on the Everglades is featured in the book MOVING WATER, published by Johns Hopkins University Press, and podcast DRAINED, available wherever you get your podcasts. Amy’s ... Read Full Bio »