Aug 12, 2011

Science Scene - NASA's Orion Makes a Splash

Splashdown Test The Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle test undergoes a drop test at the Hydro Impact Basin (HIB) July 21, 2011. NASA
Next-generation spacecraft will not land on runways. Instead they’ll splash down in the ocean a la Apollo, Mercury and Gemini.
NASA just completed building a million-gallon pool to test these splashes, and managers have been dunking a test model of the space agency’s next crew vehicle.
The Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle “boilerplate test article,” which weighs 22,700 pounds, is attached to a special gantry — think of a person swinging on a rope out over a lake — and dropped into the Hydro Impact Basin. In the video below, it was going about 24 mph at impact.
The $1.7 million Hydro Impact Basin will help prove that the Orion capsule can withstand a splashdown. Other future space capsules will also be tested in this manner.
NASA is planning additional drop tests at higher speeds throughout the summer.


  1. Does this also indicate NASA's move away from reusable space craft?

  2. I guess they need to test in a controlled enviornment, I am wondering where we tested the early capsules and how?

    Oh well, I guess I think too simply , as many lakes as we have on government controlled lands, seems one would have been appro.

    But I am glad we are moving ahead, even if it looks backwards.

  3. I loved one of the shuttles pilots statement, "Landign the shuttle on the runway is sort of like landing a brick."

  4. LOVE that photo. But I was thinking the same thing as your first commenter... are we just going to discard these and not reuse them? It seems like a step back.


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