Inside the U.S. Navy’s USS Anchorage, NASA, Lockheed Martin and U.S. Navy personnel watch as the well deck fills with water around the Orion boilerplate test vehicle during a portion of Underway Recovery Test 2 in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of San Diego. Tether lines are attached to the test vehicle to control it and a safety barrier has been installed to prevent Orion from going further into the well deck. The test will help the team prepare for recovery of the Orion crew module on its return from a deep space mission. The underway recovery test will allow the team to demonstrate and evaluate the recovery processes, procedures, new hardware and personnel in open waters.
The Ground Systems Development and Operations Program is conducting the underway recovery test. 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