My Orion EFT-1 Experience

BY: SKYE SCHWARTZ | ASTRO SKYE

It was the morning of December 5th, 2014, 10 seconds before the scheduled liftoff time of 7:05 a.m. EST. T-10.

The nerves rushed through my body.

9…8… my heart began to beat faster.

7…6… I saw a red flame ignite from under the rocket.

5…4…3… I felt the rumble and heard the roar of the engines.

2…1… Adrenaline rushed through my veins as my excitement grew.

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Photo Credit: Mike Deep/Spaceflight Insider

“And liftoff at dawn. The dawn of Orion and the new era of American space exploration.” Those were the very words I heard as I watched Orion atop a Delta IV Heavy blast off into space. Tears filled my eyes and a couple managed to roll down my face.

Taking approximately eight seconds to clear the tower, she was a roaring beauty who gently lifted off the pad with great delicacy but also great power.

The Orion EFT-1 launch was the first launch I saw in person, and it sure did not disappoint. Watching from just under three miles away at the NASA Causeway, it could not get any better. It is definitely a moment that I will remember for the rest of my life.

Watching the Orion EFT-1 Launch really opened my eyes even more to realize and confirm that this is what I wanted to do. I wanted to become an astronaut.

I remember when Orion lifted off the pad, my surrounding friends and family all said

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At the NASA Causeway, Left to Right: Nye Schwartz, Skye Schwartz, and Livia Riberio

“That’s your ride baby!” It is my ride.

It is my ride to the future of space exploration. It is my ride to Mars.

Experiencing a rocket launch in person is something everyone should see AT LEAST once in their lifetime. Allow me to tell you that it is something you will never forget. Something that is so magical and unique you will want to experience it again and again! You can never get enough, trust me!

I want to thank everyone who made it possible for me to view the Orion EFT-1 launch. I really appreciate it and it means a lot.

Congratulations to everyone who worked on Orion and all the teams at NASA, ULA, and space agencies everywhere. Thank you for your dedication and hard work that led this new era to a successful start.

For more information on Orion visit: http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/systems/orion/