The Orion Spacecraft Is Making a Splash on Tuesday, April 6

On Tuesday, April 6 at 1:45 p.m. EDT, engineers will drop a 14,000-pound test version of the Orion spacecraft into the Hydro Impact Basin at the Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. The huge reservoir measures 115 feet long (35 meters) and 90 feet (27 meters) wide and it is filled with 1 million gallons of water.
Orion drop test: Coming on April 6 1 photo
Photo: NASA
The water impact tests of the Orion are part of the formal qualification program to fulfill the structural design and requirement verification before Artemis II, NASA’s first mission with crew aboard Orion. This series of drop tests began March 23 when it was done from the height of 18 inches (46 cm) at the impact basin at NASA Langley.

The drop test is essential to ensure the safety of the occupants inside the capsule when it lands on water. The data will help engineers better understand what Orion and its crew may experience when landing in the Pacific Ocean after the Artemis missions to the Moon.

“Data from the water impact tests are part of the formal qualification test program to fulfill the structural design and requirement verification before Artemis II, NASA’s first Artemis mission with the crew,” NASA wrote. “Information will help feed final computer models for loads and structures prior to the Artemis II flight test. The current tests use a new configuration of the crew module that represents the spacecraft's final design.”

In preparation for the procedure, high-speed cameras have been set up to capture the space capsule falling into the Hydro impact basin. They enable NASA researchers to measure the angle and plunge depth of the Orion as it hits the water, learn what events may endanger a crew and develop equipment to prevent or mitigate such events. The current test series builds on previous tests and uses a configuration of the crew module based on the spacecraft's final design.

The experiment will air live on NASA Television, the NASA app, the NASA Youtube channel and the agency’s website. The event will be live-streamed on multiple agency social media platforms, including the Facebook channels for Orion and Langley.
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About the author: Florina Spînu
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Florina taught herself how to drive in a Daewoo Tico (a rebadged Suzuki Alto kei car) but her first "real car" was a VW Golf. When she’s not writing about cars, drones or aircraft, Florina likes to read anything related to space exploration and take pictures in the middle of nature.
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