(NBC News) NASA is back in the space race.
The Orion rocket blasted off from Kennedy Space Center just after sunrise Friday for it’s first test flight.
The Orion team has called the launch and mission flawless, a trip many consider the first leg in what will ultimately be a manned flight to Mars.
About two hours into the unmanned test flight the second-stage burn pushed the capsule into deep space, ultimately climbing to more than 3,600 miles above Earth before making the turn toward home.
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