At the U.S. Naval Base San Diego in California, children sign a banner and view the Orion boilerplate test vehicle during an outreach event at the naval base. The USS Anchorage is being prepared for the Orion Underway Recovery Test 2. The test vehicle and other hardware will be loaded into the well deck of the ship and head out to sea in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of San Diego. NASA, Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Navy will conduct the test to prepare for recovery of the Orion crew module, forward bay cover and parachutes on its return from a deep space mission. The underway recovery test will allow the teams to demonstrate and evaluate the recovery processes, procedures, new support hardware and personnel in open waters.
The Ground Systems Development and Operations Program will conduct 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 the Orion is scheduled to launch in 2014 atop a Delta IV rocket and in 2017 on NASA’s Space Launch System rocket. For more information, visit http://www.nasa.gov/orion. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett