NASA has tested the Orion crew capsule’s parachute system with a forward bay cover, which is designed to protect the spacecraft module during liftoff, orbital flight and re-entry.
Further tests on the Lockheed Martin-built Orion occured Thursday at the U.S. Army‘s Yuma Proving Grounds in Arizona and provided NASA engineers in-air data on how the capsule could jettison the protective hardware, NASA said Thursday.
Systima Technologies designed the spacecraft’s forward bay cover.
“These systems have to work for Orion to make it safely to the ground, and every bit of data we can gather in tests like these helps us improve our models and gives us more confidence that when we do it for real, we can count on them,” said Chris Johnson, a NASA program manager.
The space agency intends to further evaluate the Orion in upcoming airborne and ground-based structural stress tests.