Testing Orion space capsule

Dec 14, 2011
Credit: NASA/Sean Smith

(PhysOrg.com) -- Testing continues at NASA Langley Research Center as the 18,000-pound (8,165 kg) Orion test article took its eight and final splash of the year into the Hydro Impact Basin on Dec. 13. Orion, the next deep space exploration vehicle, will carry astronauts into space, provide emergency abort capability, sustain the crew during space travel, and ensure safe re-entry and landing.

The testing, which began in this summer, simulates different water landing scenarios and takes into account different velocities, parachute deployments, entry angles, and that Orion may face when landing in the Pacific Ocean. The Dec. 13 test simulated all parachutes being deployed with a nominal re-entry angle into steady seas. The capsule was at a 28 degree angle and traveled 20 mph (32.2 kph) before splashing into the basin.

This test series also takes into account conditions that may result in the capsule landing in an inverted position, which tends to occur more frequently with the higher horizontal velocities and impact angles. As was the case with the Apollo vehicle, the Orion flight design will feature an onboard uprighting system to restore the vehicle to an upright orientation prior to recovery.

Orion remained upright upon landing into the basin.

Explore further: Start of dwarf planet mission delayed after small mix-up

Related Stories

Image: Orion drop test at Langley

Nov 10, 2011

Engineers at NASA Langley conducted the third drop test of the Orion test article as part of Phase 1 water impact testing on Nov. 8.

NASA completes Orion spacecraft parachute testing in Arizona

Sep 23, 2011

NASA this week completed the first in a series of flight-like parachute tests for the agency's Orion spacecraft. The drop tests at the U.S. Army's Yuma Proving Grounds in Arizona support the design and development of the ...

NASA Glenn to Test Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle

Mar 19, 2007

NASA's Glenn Research Center will conduct integrated environmental testing of the Orion crew exploration vehicle in the Space Power Facility at the center's Plum Brook Station in Sandusky, Ohio.

NASA plans 2014 test-flight of deep-space capsule

Nov 08, 2011

NASA said Tuesday it will launch in 2014 an unmanned test flight of its Orion deep space capsule, made by Lockheed Martin to someday carry astronauts to the moon, an asteroid or Mars.

Orion spaceship set for new tests in Colorado

Aug 12, 2011

(AP) -- A spaceship that could carry the next wave of astronauts to an asteroid or beyond is being prepared for a new round of tests at a Lockheed Martin facility near Denver.

NASA, ATK Successfully Test First Orion Launch Abort Motor

Nov 21, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- Flames shot more than 100 feet high in a successful 5.5-second ground test firing Thursday, Nov. 20, of a launch abort motor for NASA's next generation spacecraft, the Orion crew exploration vehicle. NASA ...

Recommended for you

Liquid crystal bubble OASIS in space

4 hours ago

No matter how beautiful or crystal clear the bubbling waters of an oasis may be, they seldom lead to technology breakthroughs. Yet, NASA's OASIS investigation's bubbles may lead to an ocean of new improvements ...

Zapping away space junk

14 hours ago

Planet Earth is surrounded. Thousands of tons of dangerous space debris circle in low orbit, threatening serious damage, even death, if any were to strike the International Space Station. A proposal by a ...

Ariane 5's first launch of 2015

15 hours ago

An Ariane 5 has lifted off from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana and delivered two telecom satellites into their planned orbits.

User comments : 6

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

4 / 5 (8) Dec 14, 2011
Consider, the Orion development started in 2005 and still hasn't flown. In less time, for a tenth as much money, SpaceX has built two new rockets, developed the Dragon and orbited it.
4 / 5 (8) Dec 14, 2011
Consider, the Orion development started in 2005 and still hasn't flown. In less time, for a tenth as much money, SpaceX has built two new rockets, developed the Dragon and orbited it.

Worse, the Orion capsule reuses a lot of the Apollo Command Module design, so these particular tests were just CYA repeats of tests done decades ago.
1 / 5 (3) Dec 14, 2011
It is obvious by now to any outside observer that the whole NASA scenario is a literal yanking of everyone's chain.

A softcore space exploration handjob of a non reality, perpetrated on a poorly informed public, as a cover story for the hidden programs which were military and corporate driven.

NASA is a multi-billion dollar version of a rubber inflated tank in a field. It's a distraction, at best.

These are not bizarre missives... they are informed statements.

Research 'project paperclip', as an initial opener. Keep looking. The hole is very very deep.

That will open your eyes.
2 / 5 (4) Dec 14, 2011
I think one of those capsules is at the bottom of the Indian ocean. They could have saved alot of money and just pulled it up. If I were an engineer on this project I'd be embarrased to tell my friends how I waste NASA money that could be better spent.
2 / 5 (4) Dec 15, 2011
It's a metal turd, they just proved it floats.
2.1 / 5 (10) Dec 15, 2011
And here come the Physorg rocket "scientists". Let me know when the private sector makes it out of Earth orbit, morons.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.