Thursday, January 25, 2018

Orion recovery test a wrap

Divers recover Orion mock-up
Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Abe McNatt
SAN DIEGO – San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS Anchorage (LPD 23) successfully completed test recovery operations of NASA's Orion test article, Jan. 23. The Underway Recovery Test-6 (URT-6) is part of a U.S. government interagency effort to safely retrieve the Orion crew module, which is capable of carrying humans into deep space. URT-6 consisted of releasing the test capsule from the well deck, then carefully maneuvering the ship alongside the capsule at slow speed. Once the test article was far enough from the ship, the lines attaching the capsule to the ship were released. Then, divers attached a stabilization ring designed by NASA that would help in sustaining the astronauts in the capsule for up to three days. Divers then removed the collar, attached lines from the small boats to steady and guide the capsule toward Anchorage, where Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIB) would then assist in attaching lines from a NASA-designed winch which then hauled the capsule into the well deck. The tests allowed NASA and the Navy to continue to demonstrate and evaluate the recovery processes, procedures, hardware and personnel in real, open-ocean environment before conducting actual recovery operations. (Source: NNS, 01/25/18) Gulf Coast note: The space-bound Orion is built at Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans and the RS-25 engines that will power the first stage of the Space Launch System are tested at Stennis Space Center, Miss.