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Navy Completes Third Round of NASA Orion Testing

USS Anchorage (LPD-23) recovers an Orion capsule on Sept. 15, 2014. US Navy Photo

USS Anchorage (LPD-23) recovers an Orion capsule on Sept. 15, 2014. US Navy Photo

The amphibious transport dock USS Anchorage (LPD-23) completed a third set of underway recovery tests for the NASA Orion spacecraft according to the U.S. Navy. The test was the second such effort for the ship, which returned to Naval Base San Diego, Calif., on Saturday.

“We demonstrated how we would recover from a certain point of the timeline, executed the recovery, and got the module into the well deck safely,” said Jeremy Graeber, NASA’s Recovery Director in a statement. “We were focusing on putting ourselves into a realistic recovery.”

Anchorage recovered the Orion crew module using its welldeck after the spacecraft test model was deployed from USNS Salvor (ARS-52) using a crane off the Southern California coast. According to the Navy, deploying the spacecraft from Salvor allowed the Anchorage crew to treat the operation like a real recovery.

The combination of the San Antonio-class’ AN/SPS-48 air-search radars and extensive medical facilities are ideal for the recovery mission, NASA officials told USNI News in 2013. Meanwhile, Salvor was completing a separate towing and recovery test called URT-4A.

Ultimately, testing will culminate in the recovery of an Orion capsule as part of Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1) that is set for December.

During that flight test, the unmanned Orion crew capsule will be lifted on a Delta IV-Heavy rocket for its first out-of-atmosphere trial.


    WOW! let’s plan for a Gemini and maybe even an Apollo program!

    • You do realize that Orion can carry 4 astronauts to Mars and the asteroid belt, right? You seem confused as to the scope of Apollo, which was strictly limited to quick trips to the moon and back. GIYF.

      • OLD GUY

        Wassumata, no sense of humor? Sorry kid. I worked on both Gemini (launch vehicle) and Apollo (mission simulator). This is just playing around.

  • Sandy

    I thought this was shutdown so NASA could concentrate on “Muslim Outreach”?

  • Marcd30319

    Regardless of the undoubted enhanced capabilities of these capsule, I must say that it must be a comedown for astronauts to go back to “spam in the can” from being real pilots.