Water impact test of an 18,000-pound (8,165 kilogram) test version of the Orion spacecraft at NASA's Langley Research Center on Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012.
Swing drop testing began last summer at Langley's Hydro Impact Basin to certify the Orion spacecraft for water landings. In this series of tests, Orion is being dropped vertically into the pool for the first time, which will help fine-tune the way NASA predicts Orion's landing loads.
The Orion spacecraft and the Space Launch System (SLS), NASA’s next crew capsule and heavy-lift rocket, will provide an entirely new capability for human exploration. Designed to be flexible for launching spacecraft for crew and cargo missions, SLS and Orion will expand human presence beyond low Earth orbit and enable new missions of exploration across the solar system.
Image Credit: NASA