NASA Orion Spacecraft Drop Test
NASA successfully completed a drop test of its Orion crew capsule for future moon missions into the Hydro Impact Basin at the Langley Research Center’s Landing and Impact Research Facility in Hampton, Virginia. Weighing in at 14,000-pounds, this test capsule is a near identical replica of the real Orion and was dropped from a height of about 7-feet, falling for just a second before it splashed into the basin. Read more for a video, including a bonus, and additional information.



The team began this series of drop tests on March 23 to finalize computer models for loads and structures prior to the Artemis II flight test, which will be the agency’s first mission with crew aboard Orion. Artemis II is set to transport astronauts around the Moon and back, paving the way to land the first woman as well as the next man on the lunar surface before establishing a sustainable presence on the lunar surface under the Artemis program.

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That was amazing. Can’t get better than that. It looks like a perfect release, and looks like the capsule behaved as expected. Those forces are going to tell us a lot about any risk to the structure of the test article or any components inside of it, and the motion of the capsule through the water is going to tell us a lot about what the occupants inside might be experiencing. So, really with this test we’re ensuring that both the test vehicle — or future Orion vehicle — as well as the astronauts inside are safe during any future landings,” said Jacob Putnam, a data analyst at Langley.

Bonus Video