Orion undergoing water impact tests at Langley Research Center
NASA is continuing its testing of the Orion spacecraft, including different splashdown scenarios, at the agency’s Langley Research Center located in Virginia. In addition to evaluating how the spacecraft behaves when splashing into the 20-foot (6.1-meter) deep Hydro Impact Basin, NASA is also checking out the interior with a pair of simulated seats and crew members—crash-test dummies, in effect—to see how landing could affect a human crew. Splashdown tests evaluate the spacecraft under a variety of wind and wave conditions.
Langley also featured the swing-drop test on YouTube on June 7. The vehicle is swung out over the Hydro Impact Basin and allowed to free-fall into the water.
The second test flight of the Orion spacecraft and the first flight of the heavy-lift Space Launch System in space will be Exploration Mission 1, an uncrewed flight around the Moon in 2018.
Bart Leahy is a freelance technical writer living in Orlando, Florida. Leahy's diverse career has included work for The Walt Disney Company, NASA, the Department of Defense, Nissan, a number of commercial space companies, small businesses, nonprofits, as well as the Science Cheerleaders.