Saturday, January 7, 2012

Orion Makes a Splash

Somewhere in that wall of water is the Orion test capsule.

This was the last splash test in the series for the Orion test capsule. And it was the worst case scenario. Just like NASA did with the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo spacecraft, engineers are learning what happens to the Orion capsule when it makes its water landings. In the case of this test, the Orion was dropped to simulate both parachutes open, angling down at the wrong attitude, at a speed of about 47 mph, and rolling over.

The flying capsule will be equipped with a self-righting system. It isn't expected that the capsule will ever really experience this drastic a splashdown, but it was a test they had to make. In this test, the capsule did well, although it remained upside down after the splash.

After the splash.

Before the Test.

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