(CNN/KXAN) — We will be one step closer to landing on Mars with the launch of the Orion spacecraft. When Orion lifts off Thursday, it will climb to 3,600 miles and orbit the Earth twice in a 4 ½ hour test run. No astronauts will be aboard, but the trip will give NASA scientists valuable data.
That data will help with future manned missions to asteroids and mars. There is an Orion watch party at the Bob Bullock Museum Thursday morning. You can watch liftoff at 6 a.m. at the IMAX Theatre. There will also be free coffee and pastries.