NASA’s Orion spacecraft completes first water drop test in preparation for Artemis I launch in November
NASA conducted its first splash test for the Orion spacecraft ahead of the upcoming Artemis lunar missions.
Cameras have captured the 10-foot capsule that fell into the ‘hydro impact basin,’ a large tank of water at the Landing and Impact Research Facility at the Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.
However, the fall was hardly a long fall – the craft was only released from a height of about 18 inches.
NASA said the water impact tests are part of engineers’ efforts to “ simulate a few landing scenarios as close to actual conditions as possible. ”
Scheduled for November 2021, the first Artemis mission will be an unmanned flight to the moon and back.
It will be followed by a manned Artemis II flight in 2023, taking the same route, and then Artemis III’s planned moon landing in 2024.
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NASA conducted the first of four planned splash tests of the Orion spacecraft to simulate the landing on the water after returning from the planned Artemis missions
Splash tests were initially carried out on the Orion a few years ago, but structural improvements have since been made to the ship’s crew module, based on a previous flight test and data from wind tunnel tests.
“The current tests use a new configuration of the crew module that represents the final design of the spacecraft,” NASA said after the drop test Tuesday.
Tuesday’s dive was the first of four water tests scheduled at the facility over the next month.
They will help Orion meet structural and design verification requirements prior to Artemis II.
The 11-foot capsule was only dropped from a height of about 18 inches, but NASA said the test will help simulate landing scenarios “ as close to actual conditions as possible. ”
Orion (shown) is designed to carry up to six crew members and can operate unattached for up to 21 days and docked for up to six months
“ This is less about trying to reduce model uncertainty and more about loading up to design limits, getting the model higher in height and higher in load, not testing according to requirements, but testing to the limit, ” said NASA project engineer Chris Tarkenton in November, when the dunkings were announced.
‘The technical design process is iterative, so if you learn more about how the structure behaves … [you] make updates to address what you learn from tests, ‘he added.
“And design doesn’t just mean overall shape, it’s about how all the components interact and how they are manufactured.”
The first Artemis mission, currently linked to November 2021, will be a crewless flight to the moon and back. Scheduled for release in 2023, Artemis II will follow the same path, but with a crew of astronauts
Orion is designed to carry up to six crew members and can be used undocked for up to 21 days and docked for up to six months.
NASA is aiming to launch its first Artemis lunar mission in November 2021.
Scheduled for release in August 2023, Artemis II will take the same path as its predecessor, but with a crew on board.
In 2024, six men and women will board the Orion for the historic Artemis III mission, the first manned moon landing since 1972
In November, NASA discovered a component failure in one of Orion’s power data units, but indicated that it would not delay the launch of Artemis I. Pictured: A view of Orion orbiting the Earth
The following year, the historic Artemis III mission will bring the next man and first woman to the surface of the moon, the first manned lunar landing since 1972.
In November, NASA discovered a component failure in one of the Orion spacecraft’s power data units, but the agency said it would not delay the launch date of Artemis I.
Each time the Orion is launched, it is tied to the most powerful missile ever assembled.
Twin boosters that are 57 feet high, equivalent to a 16-story building, will help propel astronauts to the moon for the first time in more than 50 years.
They are part of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS), the first deep space rocket built for human travel since Saturn V, which was used in the Apollo program in the 1960s and 1970s.
At 57 feet high, these are the dual boosters that will propel astronauts back to the moon for the first time in more than 50 years
The SLS will produce up to 8.8 million pounds of thrust – more than any other rocket in history – to build enough power to blow the Orion out of low Earth orbit.
The first full-length hot fire test of the SLS missile’s aluminum core was conducted last week.
Next month, the core will be laid on a massive ship called Pegasus and float 900 miles from NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
At launch, it will contain approximately half a million liters of liquid hydrogen and 200,000 liters of liquid oxygen to propel its crew and cargo out of orbit.
After most of the missile has broken down, it reaches a top speed of 24,500 mph.
The SLS will cost $ 9.1 billion to develop, manufacture and test and is the only rocket capable of sending Orion, its astronauts and supplies to the moon in a single mission.