Friday, December 5, 2014

NASA's Orion test a success

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – NASA's unmanned Orion space capsule, designed to eventually carry astronauts into deep space, had a picture-perfect spashdown  in the Pacific Ocean today at the end of its first test flight. After two laps of Earth, Orion plunged through the atmosphere at 20,000 mph, enveloped in a fireball that scorched its heat shield. The capsule emerged intact from its 3,600-mile fall and deployed three orange-and-white parachutes to brake its speed to 20 mph as it hit the water at 11:29 a.m. EST, 270 miles west of Baja California. (Sources: multiple, including USA Today, NBC News, 12/05/14) Gulf Coast note: Lockheed Martin built the capsule at Michoud Assembly Facility, New Orleans; the Delta IV, built in Decatur, Ala., is powered by RS-68 engines tested at Stennis Space Center, Miss. Previous