On board the USS Salvor, a safeguard-class rescue and salvage ship, NASA and U.S. Navy personnel monitor the progress as the Orion boilerplate test vehicle is towed behind the ship during the third day of Underway Recovery Test 4A in the Pacific Ocean. At left, Navy divers in a rigid hull inflatable boat monitor practice recovery procedures. NASA, Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Navy are conducting the test to prepare for recovery of the Orion crew module on its return from a deep space mission. The underway recovery test allows 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 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 December 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/Kim Shiflett