CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.—The press site here at Kennedy Space Center is buzzing with media, top NASA brass, and at least one celebrity of the furry sort: Elmo. Through a partnership between NASA and Sesame Street, the cuddly red muppet is here to celebrate Thursday's launch of the Orion crew capsule, which will make its debut flight at 7:05 a.m. ET. Orion is designed to carry astronauts to deep space—to an asteroid or maybe Mars—and this initial test flight will try out its computers, parachutes, heat shield and other systems sans crew. I got a chance to talk to Elmo about what it’s like to be here for the launch and why Orion’s first flight is such a big deal. See the video here:
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
Clara Moskowitz is Scientific American's senior editor covering space and physics. She has a bachelor's degree in astronomy and physics from Wesleyan University and a graduate degree in science journalism from the University of California, Santa Cruz.