Charles Bolden

NASA's Orion capsule blasts off on 'first step' to Mars

The U.S. space agency's Orion capsule blasted off Dec. 5 on its first journey into orbit, in a key test flight before carrying people to deep space destinations like Mars in the coming years.

The unmanned spacecraft soared to space at 7:05 a.m. (1205 GMT) atop a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket that rumbled and roared as it climbed above the Florida coast at sunrise.