Orion Capsule Final Parachute Test to Take Place on September 12

In June 2020, NASA plans to launch its own astronaut capable capsule into space on board the Space Launch System. The capsule is called Orion and it will be conducting the final parachute test on September 12.
Orion capsule parachutes 1 photo
Photo: NASA
The parachute needed to slow the descent of the capsule after it reenters the atmosphere with the crew on board will be deployed in the skies over the U.S. Army’s Proving Ground in Yuma, Arizona.

The capsule will be dropped from an altitude of over six miles from a C-17 aircraft. Following the drop, the system, which comprises a total of 11 parachutes, will be deployed.

NASA plans to test for the last time the way in which all the components of the system perform, including the sequence in which pyrotechnic devices and chutes themselves deploy.

Work is progressing on the final version of the capsule. In August, NASA and Lockheed Martin engineers began fitting the heat shield onto the spacecraft. The heat shield is 16.5 feet in diameter, the largest such component ever developed for crewed capsules. It is made of a titanium truss covered with a composite substrate and layers of carbon fiber material.

After completing all the tests, the Orion will be capable of carrying a crew of four astronauts to destinations at or beyond low Earth orbit, including the Moon and on to Mars. It is equipped with power, communications and life support systems to make it self-sufficient for long periods of time.

The Orion is a project conducted together with sister European space agency ESA. The flight test on board the SLS which will be conducted in 2020 will not be manned. The first manned mission of the SLS-Orion combo is scheduled to take place in 2023.

By then, two other capsules are likely to be in operation, the SpaceX Crew Dragon and the Boeing Starliner. Both will begin manned testing before the Orion.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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