NASA tests Orion capsule ahead of Mars mission

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NASA is preparing itself for the biggest Mars mission in the history of mankind as the launch dates come close; all the equipment is being t...

NASA is preparing itself for the biggest Mars mission in the history of mankind as the launch dates come close; all the equipment is being tested and verified. The latest in this list is the Orion capsule which will be taking the astronauts to Mars. This time around NASA intentionally failed two of the parachutes of the capsule as they wanted to test how the spacecraft would land on Earth after its journey to Earth. NASA wants to be sure about everything and leaves nothing to chance. This is the second test flight of the spacecraft after its successful flight in 2014. But this time the scientists were more focused on the outcome of two failed parachutes. The Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (Orion MPCV) is a spacecraft that is intended to carry a crew of four astronauts to destinations at or beyond low Earth orbit. It is currently under development by NASA. This is also the first time in the history that a spacecraft has been designed to take people to Mars. The good news about the space vehicle is that its parachutes were reported to perform flawlessly even after travelling about 3,600 miles into space.
NASA tests Orion capsule ahead of Mars mission

The recent test was conducted to see whether the capsule will be able to land safely enough in case two of its parachutes failed. The test was carried out in the Arizona Desert away from the general population. For the test, a parachute development sequence of the model Origin capsule began after it was dropped from an altitude of 35,000 feet by a C-17 aircraft, above the US army Yuma Providing Ground in Yuma, Arizona.

CJ Johnson, who is the project manager for NASA, said,” WE test Orion’s parachutes to the extremes to ensure we have a safe system for bringing crews back to Earth on future flights, even if something goes wrong. Orion’s parachute performance is difficult to model with computers, so putting them to test in the air helps to better evaluate and understand how the system works.”The parachutes are a very important part of any capsule as they are responsible for reducing the impact speed of the capsule as it moves towards the Earth. The parachutes also enable the crew module to touch down in the ocean at about 20 mph within minutes, while it is travelling at more than 30 mph. The test resulted in a gentle landing of the capsule, however it was upside down.

Image Source: U.S. Navy

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Washington Account: NASA tests Orion capsule ahead of Mars mission
NASA tests Orion capsule ahead of Mars mission
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Washington Account
http://www.washingtonaccount.com/2015/09/nasa-tests-orion-capsule-ahead-of-mars_4.html
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