A 150-watt, 25-millimeter green laser beam will reach for the heavens from Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, signifying a go for the launch of Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1), the test flight of the uncrewed Orion spacecraft. EFT-1 is set to lift off from Space Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station as early as 7:05 a.m. on December 4, 2014. The test flight represents a significant first step toward sending astronauts to Mars.

Designed to be a guiding light to launch viewing for Orion, the laser beam at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is the most powerful laser ever used on Kennedy Space Center property.

The laser beam is also a representation of Kennedy Space Center’s ongoing commitment to laser technology. A laser testing area at Kennedy Space Center is run by the University of Central Florida via a space act agreement with NASA.

In addition, there have been various tests of lasers at KSC, including lasers on Morpheus to scan for a landing site; the Curiosity rover's laser was tested at KSC before launching; and Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science (OPALS), which is an optical communication experiment on the International Space Station, developed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The laser beam will light the way to launch from 8 p.m. Dec. 3 until 7 a.m. Dec. 4. Everyone is encouraged to post photos of the laser on Instagram and Twitter and tag it with #Orion and #AlwaysExploring. Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex will then share the best photos.

PHOTO: ©2014 Dan Long/DNC Parks & Resorts, Inc.. All Rights Reserved.

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