The USS Anchorage is docked at Naval Base San Diego during loading operations in its well deck for Orion Underway Recovery Test 3. A crane is used to lift the Orion forward bay cover for loading on the ship. The ship will head out to sea, off the coast of San Diego, in search of conditions to support test needs for a full dress rehearsal of recovery operations. NASA, Lockheed Martin and U.S. Navy personnel will conduct tests in the Pacific Ocean 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, new 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