The Orion boilerplate test vehicle is secured on its cradle in the well deck of the U.S. Navy's USS Anchorage in preparation for Underway Recovery Test 2 in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of San Diego. Workers are installing a safety barrier near the test vehicle to keep it from going further into the well deck as it fills with water. NASA, Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Navy will conduct the test to 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