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Most-Difficult Orion Parachute Test

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View the Next, Most-Difficult Orion Parachute Test Live on Google+

Wednesday’s test of the Orion parachute system will be a nail-biter for the engineers who have been working to design it.

Orion is NASA’s new spacecraft being built to take humans farther than we’ve ever gone before. When an uncrewed version launches into space in December for its first flight test, it will travel 3,600 miles into space and return after two orbits around Earth. After entering Earth’s atmosphere at 20,000 mph, Orion will splashdown in the Pacific Ocean at only 20 mph, with the help of the atmosphere and the parachute system.

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Space Station Live: Orion Parachute Test

Space Station Live commentator Brandi Dean interviews Lara Kearney, the Deputy Manager of the Orion Crew and Service Module. This interview aired during Space Station Live on June 24, 2014.

Credit: NASA

Source: NASA - Multimedia

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Parachutes for NASA's Orion Spacecraft Hit No Snags in Most Difficult Test

NASA completed the most complex and flight-like test of the parachute system for the agency's Orion spacecraft on Wednesday.

A test version of Orion touched down safely in the Arizona desert after being pulled out of a C-17 aircraft, 35,000 feet above the U.S. Army's Yuma Proving Ground. It was the first time some parachutes in the system had been tested at such a high altitude. Engineers also put additional stresses on the parachutes by allowing the test version of Orion to free fall for 10 seconds, which increased the vehicle's speed and aerodynamic pressure.

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The most complex Orion chute test, yet

The most recent test of the Orion spacecraft's parachute system was shown during a NASA Google+ Hangout. An Orion test article was pushed out of a C-17 aircraft 35,000 feet above the Army's Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona. Of the 17 parachute drops planned for the developmental test series, this is the 14th and most complex. Only two previous tests have been conducted from such a high altitude, and this one upped the ante further by waiting through 10 seconds of freefall before Orion's parachutes were deployed, to allow the vehicle to build up more speed and aerodynamic pressure before the first of the parachutes was released, to put the maximum amount of stress on them.

Credit: NASA

Source: NASA - Multimedia

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