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.