[meteorite-list] NASA Orion Splashdown Tests Ensure Safe Landings For Astronauts

From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu, 27 Sep 2012 14:03:20 -0700 (PDT)
Message-ID: <201209272103.q8RL3KOI005805_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>

Sept. 27, 2012

Rachel Kraft
Headquarters, Washington
rachel.h.kraft at nasa.gov

Sasha Congiu
Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va.
sasha.r.congiu at nasa.gov

RELEASE: 12-340


HAMPTON, Va. -- The 18,000-pound test article that mimics the size and
weight of NASA's Orion spacecraft crew module recently completed a
final series of water impact tests in the Hydro Impact Basin at the
agency's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.

The campaign of swing and vertical drops simulated various water
landing scenarios to account for different velocities, parachute
deployments, entry angles, wave heights and wind conditions the
spacecraft may encounter when landing in the Pacific Ocean. The next
round of water impact testing is scheduled to begin in late 2013
using a full-sized model that was built to validate the flight
vehicle's production processes and tools.

Orion will carry astronauts farther into space than ever before and be
the most advanced spacecraft ever designed. It will fly its first
flight test, designated Exploration Flight Test 1, in 2014. The
spacecraft will travel more than 3,600 miles into space -- 15 times
farther from Earth than the International Space Station -- and reach
speeds of more than 20,000 mph before returning to Earth. This
unmanned flight test will launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force
Station in Florida. Several Orion systems, including the heat shield
and parachutes at speeds generated during a return from deep space,
will be tested.

In 2017, Orion will be launched by NASA's Space Launch System (SLS), a
heavy-lift rocket that will provide an entirely new capability for
human exploration beyond low Earth orbit. Designed to be flexible for
launching spacecraft for crew and cargo missions, SLS will enable new
missions of exploration and expand human presence in the solar

Langley's Hydro Impact Basin is 115 feet long, 90 feet wide and 20
feet deep, and is located at the historic Landing and Impact Research
Facility where Apollo astronauts trained for moonwalks.

For video and still imagery documenting the ground breaking of the
Hydro Impact Basin all the way through various stages of the Orion
testing, visit:


For more information about Orion, visit:


For further information about the International Space Station, NASA's
commercial space programs and the future of American spaceflight,

Received on Thu 27 Sep 2012 05:03:20 PM PDT

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