Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Orion shows failed chute capability

NASA engineers demonstrated the Orion spacecraft can land safely if one of its three main parachutes fails to inflate during deployment. The test was conducted Tuesday in Yuma, Ariz., with the parachutes attached to a test article. Engineers rigged the parachutes so only two would inflate, leaving the third to flag behind, when the test capsule was dropped from a plane at 25,000 feet. The test was the eighth parachute engineering development drop test. The next is scheduled for May. The system also will be put to the test in 2014 when Orion, the crew capsule for the Space Launch System, makes its first flight test. During the mission, an uncrewed capsule will travel 3,600 miles from Earth. (Source: NASA, 02/12/13) Gulf Coast note: Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Michoud Assembly Facility, New Orleans, are both involved in the Space Launch System program.