CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (CBS4)– Many Coloradans are anxiously awaiting the launch of Orion on Thursday, the test flight for a capsule that could take man back to the moon or even as far away as Mars.

The Orion’s heat shield was made by the people at Lockheed Martin in Littleton, and United Launch Alliance in Centennial built the rocket that will lift it into space. The whole event will be able to be seen courtesy of flight cameras built buy Ball Aerospace in Broomfield.

“We’re here to watch Orion launch,” said Lockheed Martin engineer Kirk Wilson from Elizabeth.

Wilson is a little more excited than most because he had a hand in getting it to the launch pad.

PHOTO GALLERY: CBS4 Covers Orion Spacecraft Launch

“We’ve been working on it for years now and we are very happy to see this first episode,” said Wilson.

The Colorado-built rocket will launch Orion into space in 17 minutes. The orbit will be 15 times further than the International Space Station, traveling 3,600 miles above Earth.

(credit: CBS/NASA)

(credit: CBS/NASA)

NASA administrator Charles Bolden believes this launch will shape the future of space exploration.

“What you see behind us is what I would call history in the making,” said Bolden.

Thursday’s flight is a test run, the first on its journey to Mars.

The Colorado-built rocket will launch Orion into space in 17 minutes. The orbit will be 15 times further than the International Space Station, traveling 3,600 miles above Earth.

Colorado will leave its mark every step of the way from design and development to documentation of the launch.

“Much of our engineering staff is in Colorado. A lot of our key suppliers are in Colorado. So there is quite a Colorado presence on Orion,” said Lockheed Martin Orion Program Manager Mike Hawes.

(credit: CBS/NASA)

(credit: CBS/NASA)

Two people from Colorado will join 100 other social media reporters as they track every detail on social media.

Like everyone close to the Orion Project, Wilson is hoping for a successful launch, “I’m really proud to work on that program.”

CBS4 will report live from Cape Canaveral beginning Wednesday. Watch the launch live on CBS4 Morning News on Thursday at 5 a.m.

LINKS: NASA-Orion | Lockheed Martin-Orion

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