NASA is testing the Orion capsule, an apparatus that will one day be transporting the first humans to Mars. The last tests were carried out in conjunction with the US Navy – the equipment was tested that is able to ensure the restoration of the capsule after landing in the ocean. Information and photos about the tests that were conducted during the day and night time are posted on the official NASA website.
NASA presented a stunning image of the latest Orion capsule test. Its first flight is scheduled for 2019 – it will be an expedition to the moon. The space agency is hoping that in the future Orion will become a “workhorse” and will transport people to various planets in the solar system.
The Orion space capsule is small in size: 16.5 feet (5 meters) in diameter and 10.8 feet (3.3 meters) in height. At the same time the device will weigh about 31,000 pounds (14 tons). Capsule volume is 692 cubic feet (11 cubic meters).
NASA is developing several schemes for the withdrawal of the crew from the spacecraft on the day they return home. The agency relies on the flexibility of the methods – depending on the health of the crew and equipment, as well as on the weather at the time of the termination of the mission. In the normal version, immediately after the capsule lands on the water, small boats with personnel responsible for the recovery of the capsule crew will be sent to it. Landing astronauts will help out of the capsule and take them aboard the Navy ship. However, there may be surprises.
For example, a situation is not excluded when astronauts will have to evacuate on their own, and, possibly, in an extreme situation – in conditions of a storm or strong wind. Orion capsule is designed to support the crew when landing in the ocean for at least 24 hours. The capsule is equipped with a special raft and emergency water supplies; Special tools and signaling mirrors are provided in case the crew finds themselves in a situation where the astronaut restoration team cannot arrive at the landing site in a timely manner.
“The test of recovery-7 (URT-7) is one of a series of tests. Capsule testing is conducted jointly by the team to restore the astronauts and representatives of the US Navy. As part of these activities are carried out verification procedures and equipment that will be used to restore the Orion space capsule after it landed after a mission to study deep space “ , – leads Daily Mail Comment NASA representatives.
NASA engineers are working alongside sailors. The capsule tests were carried out at different times of the day and in different weathers, in order to understand how Orion behaves in different states of the sea.
“Astronauts returning to Earth at Orion will spend many days in space, and we want to make sure that the last part of their journey will go smoothly, regardless of the conditions under which they land,” said Tom Walker, NASA employee in Houston
NASA astronauts, preparing for a possible mission to Mars, previously practiced water maneuvers, testing Orion in the Gulf of Mexico. Several astronauts conducted open-water training approximately 4 miles (6.5 km) from Galveston, Texas. In a bright orange training uniform, future space explorers were preparing for a possible water landing, practicing diving, using flotation devices and deploying a life raft. The Coast Guard and other NASA and military security personnel were located nearby. Such testing is carried out for the first time since the days of the Apollo program, when NASA practiced working out methods for exiting a capsule on the high seas.
Earlier, News.ru reported that the NASA Parker Solar Probe space probe, launched from Earth in August of this year, came very close to the Sun – at a distance of about 24 million km.