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NASA Invites Media to Orion Spacecraft Parachute Test in Arizona

March 2017 Orion parachute test
NASA’s Orion spacecraft makes a successful landing in March 2017 after the second parachute test at the U.S. Army Yuma Proving ground in Arizona. Media are invited to view the fifth test on Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017. Credits: NASA

NASA is inviting media to attend a test of parachutes for the agency’s Orion spacecraft Wednesday, Dec. 13, at the U.S. Army’s Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona. This test is the fifth in a series of eight to qualify the parachute system for crewed Orion missions.

Media will have the opportunity to view the test from the drop zone, see the engineering model of Orion up close, and interview NASA personnel including astronaut Butch Wilmore and Exploration Mission-1 manager Michael Sarafin.

To attend, media must contact Laura Rochon at by 1 p.m. EST Friday, Dec. 8.

During the test, a model Orion spacecraft will be dropped from a C-17 aircraft flying at an altitude of 35,000 feet. Engineers will evaluate a simulated scenario in which one of the three main parachutes fails to open after the deployment of several other parachutes that help slow and stabilize the spacecraft.

Orion’s parachutes are critical to the safe return of the spacecraft and its future crews after deep-space exploration missions. They help Orion slow from about 300 to 20 mph in less than 10 minutes, enabling a safe splashdown in the ocean.

Orion will carry astronauts farther into the solar system than ever before, provide emergency abort capabilities, sustain the crew during their mission and provide safe re-entry through Earth’s atmosphere.

Find more information about Orion at:


Kathryn Hambleton
Headquarters, Washington
Laura Rochon
Johnson Space Center, Houston