A member of the Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 8 signals to the pilot in an H60-S Seahawk helicopter on the deck of the USS Anchorage as the ship departs Naval Base San Diego in California for the open waters of the Pacific Ocean. NASA and the U.S. Navy are making preparations ahead of Orion's flight test for recovery of the crew module, forward bay cover and parachutes on its return from space and splashdown in the Pacific Ocean. The Ground Systems Development and Operations Program is leading the recovery efforts.
The first unpiloted flight test of Orion is scheduled to launch this week atop a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket. During its two-orbit, 4.5-hour flight, Orion will venture 3,600 miles in altitude and travel nearly 60,000 miles before returning to Earth for a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean. For more information, visit http://www.nasa.gov/orion. Photo credit: NASA/Cory Huston