A member of the U.S. Navy stands on the deck of the USS Anchorage on the first day of Orion Underway Recovery Test 3 in the Pacific Ocean. In the water are several Zodiac boats and rigid hull inflatable boats with U.S. Navy personnel and divers that are preparing to recover the Orion boilerplate test vehicle already in the water. NASA, Lockheed Martin and U.S. Navy personnel are conducting the recovery test to prepare for recovery of the Orion crew module on its return from a deep space mission. The test will allow the teams to demonstrate and evaluate the recovery processes, procedures, hardware and personnel in open waters.
The Ground Systems Development and Operations Program is conducting the underway recovery tests. Orion is the exploration spacecraft designed to carry astronauts to destinations not yet explored by humans, including an asteroid and Mars. It will have emergency abort capability, sustain the crew during space travel and provide safe re-entry from deep space return velocities. The first unpiloted test flight of Orion is scheduled to launch in 2014 atop a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket and in 2018 on NASA’s Space Launch System rocket. For more information, visit http://www.nasa.gov/orion. Photo credit: NASA/Cory Huston