Zee Media Bureau
Washington: NASA and the US Navy have completed the second round of practice recoveries of the Orion spacecraft, which is designed to take humans to the Moon, asteroids and eventually to Mars.
The US space agency, in a statement, said it has concluded a week of preparations for the first space flight test of the Orion crew vehicle.
“We learned a lot about our hardware, gathered good data and the test objectives were achieved,” said Mike Generale, a NASA recovery operations manager, adding that they were able to put Orion out to sea and safely bring it back multiple times.
Orion prime contractor Lockheed Martin and NASA teamed up with the US Navy and the Defense Department`s Human Space Flight Support Detachment 3 to try different techniques for recovering the 20,500-pound spacecraft safely during this second “underway recovery test.”
The test flights took place from August 1 to August 4, a few hundred miles off the coast of Baja California, Mexico.
In December, Orion will launch 5,760 km into space in a four-hour flight to test the systems that will be critical for survival in future human missions to deep space.
After two orbits, Orion will re-enter the Earth`s atmosphere travelling at a speed of almost 32,000 km per hour before its parachute system deploys to slow the spacecraft for a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.
In the future, Orion will launch on NASA`s new heavy-lift rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS).
According to NASA, SLS which is more powerful than any rocket ever built, will be capable of sending humans to deep space destinations such as an asteroid and eventually Mars.
NASA is now geared up for the next step of testing with a full dress rehearsal landing simulation.
(With Agency Inputs)