The Challenger Learning Center of Northwest Indiana is hosting an Orion First Flight Viewing Event to celebrate the first test flight of NASA's new spacecraft, Orion, on Thursday, Dec. 4, at the Indiana Welcome Center in Hammond. Orion's first mission is Exploration Flight Test-1.

The Orion spacecraft is a key component of the NASA human space exploration system that will provide an entirely new capability for the United States - a flexible system able to launch crew and cargo missions, extend human presence beyond low-Earth orbit and enable new missions of exploration throughout our solar system. Orion's first mission will set NASA on the path to accomplishing those goals.

Beginning at 9:30 a.m., the public is invited to learn about Orion, view the prerecorded launch, live splashdown and enjoy the current holiday exhibit at the Indiana Welcome Center. Guests will hear NASA commentary prior to Orion's launch and learn about the flight and mission objectives through interviews with experts at NASA, Lockheed Martin and United Launch Alliance. Attendees will see the launch pad and launch control center, and feel as though they are at the launch site when the main engines ignite. Admission to the event is free.

The Indiana Welcome Center is located at 7770 Corinne Dr., Hammond, Ind. 46323. For more information about the Orion First Flight Viewing Event, visit the Challenger Learning Center of Northwest Indiana's website at