NASA conducted its first splash test for the Orion spacecraft ahead of the upcoming Artemis lunar missions.
Cameras captured the 11-foot capsule falling into the ‘hydroelectric impact basin,’ a large tank of water at the Langley Research Center landing and impact research facility in Hampton, Virginia.
However, the fall was hardly a long fall – the craft only dropped from a height of about 18 inches.
NASA said the water impact tests are part of the engineers’ efforts to “simulate some landing scenarios as close to real-world conditions as possible.”
Scheduled for November 2021, Artemis’s first 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 lunar landing in 2024.
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NASA conducted the first of four planned splash tests of the Orion spacecraft to simulate its landing in water after returning from planned Artemis missions.
Splash tests were initially conducted at Orion several years ago, but structural improvements have since been made to the ship’s crew module, based on a previous flight test and wind tunnel test data.
“The current tests use a new crew module configuration 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 planned 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 helps simulate landing scenarios ‘as close to real-world conditions as possible.’
Orion (pictured) is designed to carry up to six crew members and can operate for up to 21 days undocked and up to six months docked.
“ It’s less about trying to reduce model uncertainty and more about loading to design limits, taking the model to a higher elevation and higher load, not testing the requirements, but testing to the extremes. ” NASA project engineer Chris Tarkenton said in November. when the dives were announced.
‘The engineering design process is iterative, so as you learn more about how the structure behaves … [you] make updates to address what you learn from testing, ‘he added.
“And design doesn’t just mean general shape, it’s how all the components will interact and how they will be manufactured.”
The first Artemis mission, currently tied to November 2021, will be an unmanned flight to the Moon and vice versa. Artemis II, scheduled for 2023, will follow the same path, but with a crew of astronauts
Orion is designed to carry up to six crew members and can operate for up to 21 days undocked and up to six months docked.
NASA aims to launch its first Artemis lunar mission in November 2021.
Artemis II, scheduled for August 2023, will follow 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 detected a fault with a component in one of Orion’s energy data units, but indicated that this would not delay the launch of Artemis I. In the image: a representation of Orion in orbit
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 found a fault with a component in one of the Orion spacecraft’s energy data units, but the agency said that would not delay the Artemis I launch date.
Whenever Orion launches, it will be tethered to the most powerful rocket ever assembled.
The twin 177-foot-tall thrusters, 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 space rocket built for human travel since Saturn V, used in the Apollo program in the 1960s and 1970s.
Rising 177 feet tall, these are the twin thrusters 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 accumulate enough energy to blow Orion out of low Earth orbit.
The first long-lasting hot fire test of the aluminum core of the SLS rocket was carried out last week.
Next month, the core will be placed on a huge barge called the 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 around half a million gallons of liquid hydrogen and 200,000 gallons of liquid oxygen to propel its crew and cargo out of Earth orbit.
After most of the rocket has detached, it will reach a top speed of 24,500 mph.
Costing $ 9.1 billion to develop, manufacture and test, the SLS is the only rocket capable of sending Orion, its astronauts and supplies to the Moon in a single mission.