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NASA Completes Orion Spacecraft Parachute Testing in Arizona
September 27, 2011

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NASA has completed the first in a series of flight-like parachute tests for the agency's Orion spacecraft. The drop tests at the U.S. Army's Yuma Proving Grounds in Arizona support the design and development of the Orion parachute assembly.

Flying at an altitude of 25,000 feet, a drop-test article that mimicked the Orion parachute compartment was deployed from a C-130 aircraft. Once airborne, two drogue chutes were deployed at an altitude of 19,000 feet, followed by three pilot parachutes, which then deployed three main landing parachutes. The drop test article speed as it impacted the desert was approximately 25 feet per second.

The tests were the closest simulation so far to what the actual Orion parachute landing phase will be during a return from space.

Since 2007, the Orion program has tested the spacecraft's parachutes and performed 20 drop tests. The program provided the chutes for NASA's pad abort test in 2010 and performed numerous ground-based tests. Results from the previous experiences were incorporated into the parachute design used in this test.

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Orion drop test article descends under the canopy of its three parachutes. The test article was deployed from a C-130 aircraft at an altitude of 25,000 feet.
Image Credit: 
NASA
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The Orion drop test article rests on the ground at the U.S. Army's Yuma Proving Grounds in Arizona after the latest parachute test.
Image Credit: 
NASA
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Page Last Updated: July 28th, 2013
Page Editor: NASA Administrator