Amy Johnson
Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va.
757-864-7022/272-9859 (mobile)
Final Orion Spacecraft Water Landing Test at Langley Rescheduled
HAMPTON, Va. -- Reporters are invited to watch as a test-version of the Orion crew capsule takes its final splash Friday, Jan. 6, at NASA Langley Research Center's Hydro Impact Basin in Hampton, Va. The test was originally scheduled to take place Thursday, Jan. 5, but a combination of wind and cold weather conditions prohibited pre-test operations atop the gantry.

Testing began last summer to certify the Orion spacecraft for water landings. The Orion will carry astronauts into space, providing emergency abort capability, sustaining the crew during space travel, and ensuring safe re-entry and landing.

Since July 2011, engineers have conducted eight tests -- all at different angles, heights and pitches to simulate the varying sea conditions and impacts that Orion could face upon landing in the Pacific.

On Jan. 6, test impact conditions will simulate all parachutes being deployed with a high impact pitch of 43 degrees. The capsule will travel approximately 47 mph before splashing into the basin, where it will likely flip over after impact. This type of landing scenario isn't likely to occur during actual vehicle operation, but is essential for the validation of analytical models. As was the case with Apollo, the Orion flight design will feature an onboard up-righting system.

The Hydro Impact Basin is 115 feet long, 90 feet wide and 20 feet deep. It is located at the west end of Langley's historic Landing and Impact Research Facility, or Gantry, where Apollo astronauts trained for moon walks.

Journalists must arrive by 1:30 p.m. EDT at the NASA Langley main gate. Due to the nature of the testing; an exact drop time cannot be given. If the drop test date changes due to weather or technical reasons, NASA will issue an advisory to journalists of the change.

To ensure access and badging, reporters must contact Amy Johnson by phone at 757-272-9859 or by email at by 4 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 5.

For video and still imagery that documents ground breaking of the Hydro Impact Basin through various stages of Orion testing, visit:

For more information about NASA and agency programs, visit:

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