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NASA, Navy Demo Orion Spacecraft Recovery Operations Using USS Anchorage

NASA and the U.S. Navy have conducted another recovery test of an Orion test vehicle aboard the USS Anchorage amphibious transport dock.

The Navy said Thursday the Underway Recovery Test-6 is meant to ensure the safe retrieval of the Orion spacecraft crew module, which is designed to transport humans to deep space.

During URT-6, NASA engineers and Navy sailors released an Orion test capsule from USS Anchorage’s well deck, then used rigid-hull inflatable boats to bring the capsule back to the ship when enough distance was established.

The latest demonstration marks the fourth URT aboard Anchorage, a San Antonio-class vessel.

URTs are intended to support the assessment of recovery processes, procedures, hardware and personnel in a real open-ocean environment ahead of the actual Orion recovery mission.

The team started conducting URTs in 2014 and will perform URT-7 on San Antonio-class ship USS Somerset in October, when NASA is also scheduled to validate recovery hardware.

Orion is slated to fly a crew for the first time in the early 2020s during a mission called Exploration Mission-2.

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