NASA last week conducted a drop test of the Orion crew vehicle's parachutes over the Arizona desert in preparation for its orbital flight test in 2014. A C-130 plane dropped the Orion test article from an altitude of 25,000 feet above the Army's Yuma Proving Grounds. Orion's drogue chutes were deployed between 15,000 and 20,000 feet, followed by the pilot parachutes, which then deployed two main landing parachutes. Orion will be capable of carrying astronauts into deep space. (Source: NASA, 12/21/11) Gulf Coast note: Lockheed Martin builds Orion at Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans.