Amy Johnson
757-864-7022/ 757-272-9859
Media Invited to Water Basin Groundbreaking Ceremony
HAMPTON, Va. -- What goes up must come down, and it will be NASA Langley Research Center's job to make sure that when astronauts return from space, they land safely.

On June 8, NASA Langley will break ground on a $1.7 million Hydro Impact Basin that will serve to validate and certify that future space vehicles, such as Orion, are designed for safe water landings.

The water impact basin will be 115 feet long, 90 feet wide and 20 feet deep. It will be built adjacent to Langley's historic Landing Impact Research Facility, also known as the Gantry, where Neil Armstrong learned to walk on the moon. Construction will begin mid-June and will be completed by December 2010.

The groundbreaking ceremony will be held at 10:30 a.m., Tuesday, June 8. Media interested in attending should contact Amy Johnson at 757-864-7022 or 757-272-9859 by June 7.

A series of water impact tests will be conducted using Orion drop test articles beginning in the spring of 2011. These tests will initially validate and improve the computer models of impact and acoustic loads used in the design and engineering process, and will ultimately qualify the final vehicle design for flight.

"We are excited about being a part of the nation's next space vehicle and it's landing system," said Lynn Bowman, who is managing the test series for the Orion project. "For the past few years our team at NASA Langley has conducted more than 100 landing impact tests and numerous impact dynamic analyses on both full-scale and sub-scale spacecraft test articles. Our skilled team is looking forward to being actively involved with this extremely important project."

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