Friday, December 21, 2012

Orion backup chute tested

NASA completed the latest in a series of parachute tests for its Orion spacecraft Thursday at the Army Yuma Proving Ground in southwestern Arizona, a step toward a first flight test in 2014. The test verified Orion can land safely even if one of its two drogue parachutes does not open during descent. Orion, which will take humans further into space than ever before, uses five parachutes. The 21,000-pound capsule needs only two main parachutes and one drogue. The extra two provide a backup in case one of the primary parachutes fails. The next Orion parachute test is scheduled for February and will simulate a failure of one of the three main parachutes. (Source: NASA, 12/20/12) Gulf Coast note: The Orion capsules are built in New Orleans; Stennis Space Center, Miss., tests the rocket engines for the Space Launch System.