US Navy sailors prepare for recovering NASA’s Orion capsule

Photo: US Navy
Photo: US Navy

The U.S. Navy has been given the task of returning NASA’s Orion capsule back to land after it returns from deep space missions and lands in the ocean.

NASA’s ground systems development and operations program and U.S. Navy personnel have carried out a water recovery test, called Underway Recovery Test 5 (URT-5) using a test version of the Orion spacecraft in the Pacific Ocean.

During URT-5, the team ventured into open waters to test the recovery processes, procedures, hardware and personnel that are necessary for recovery of the Orion crew module into the well deck of a Navy ship.

The USS San Diego, a test version of Orion, several support boats, and associated hardware and equipment were used for the test.

Orion is the exploration spacecraft designed to carry astronauts to destinations not yet explored by humans, including an asteroid and the agency’s Journey to Mars. It will have emergency abort capability, sustain the crew during space travel and provide safe re-entry from deep space return velocities.

According to the NASA, the Orion spacecraft is scheduled to launch atop the Space Launch System rocket in late 2018.