NASA, Navy practice Orion recovery in the Pacific Ocean
By Navy Times staff
If you think sending astronauts speeding to a point 40,000 miles beyond the moon is difficult, try bringing them back.
In coming years, NASA will launch an unmanned spacecraft and then, if all goes well, a manned Orion spacecraft deeper into the solar system than any other manned craft has ever gone.
It’s impressive, but on its return trip, Orion will need to slow down from 25,000 mph to just 300 mph as it enters the Earth’s atmosphere.
From there, the craft needs to slow to just 20 mph as it (hopefully) splashes down gently in the water, according to NASA.
Critical to success will be getting to the astronauts in the Orion as fast as possible. This is where the Navy comes in.
This week, NASA experts and sailors were aboard the transport dock Anchorage to practice retrieving a mock capsule in the ocean and securing it. Here are some scenes (and video) from their practice session: