Nasa completes Orion vertical drop tests

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NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, has completed a series of four vertical drop tests with a test version of the Orion capsule.

Two crash-test dummies (as used in automotive testing) wearing modified advanced crew escape system suits were secured in the full-scale Orion capsule. Each dummy was equipped with internal sensors to assist engineers to quantify the potential for injury to the crew when Orion re-enters Earth’s atmosphere.

After securing the dummies inside the test capsule, NASA engineers dropped the capsule into Langley Research Center’s 20ft-deep hydro impact basin to simulate the splashdown in the ocean after space missions. During re-entry, Orion will descend under its three main parachutes, but the moment the capsule meets water, astronauts will experience tremendous forces.

The drop tests were designed to account for a range of wind and wave conditions that might exist when the capsule and its human occupants return from deep-space missions.

NASA engineers will conduct five more rigorous swing tests of the capsule with the fully suited dummies over the next few months.

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With over 20 years experience in editorial management and content creation for multiple, market-leading titles at UKi Media & Events (publisher of Aerospace Testing International), one of the UK's fastest growing publishing companies, Anthony has written articles and news covering everything from aircraft, airports and cars, to cruise ships, trains, trucks and even tires!

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