Orion Successfully Concludes 1st Test Flight – Maine News Online
To the delight of engineers, NASA’s Orion spacecraft completed successful first test flight on Friday. The unmanned capsule splashed down in the Pacific Ocean after making two laps of earth.
The capsule deployed three orange-and-white-striped parachutes to control its speed to 20 mph and it hit the water at 11:29 a.m. EST, 270 miles west of Baja California. NASA termed the landing as ‘bull’s eye’.
It splashed down in the ocean after four-and-a-half hours of being launched from Florida. At 7:05 am, the Exploration Flight Test-1 mission blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
As soon as the capsule entered into water, recovery crew started making efforts to tow the capsule to an already waiting Navy ship.
A number of tasks will be carried out like heat shield inspection. Data from 1,200 sensors will also be secured on the way back to a San Diego port. NASA has some positive news to share, like onboard computers were not affected due to high radiation in space.
“In the coming weeks and months we’ll be taking a look at that invaluable information and applying lessons learned to the next Orion spacecraft already in production for the first mission atop the Space Launch System rocket”, affirmed Mark Geyer, Orion program manager.
The agency happily shared that the capsule reached a peak altitude more than 14 times farther from earth than the International Space Station. After hiatus of 42 years, a spacecraft designed for astronauts had gone so far.
It was needed to send Orion that far, as NASA had to set crew module up for a 20,000-mph, 4,000-degree entry. This task was considered to be the most critical part of the test flight.
Before the test launch, NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden said that the test flight acts as history in the making.