Lockheed, NASA, Navy practice spacecraft recovery

Techniques for at-sea recovery of the Orion spacecraft have been practiced off the California Coast by Lockheed Martin, NASA and the U.S. Navy.
By Richard Tomkins   |   Aug. 7, 2014 at 4:03 PM

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 7 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin, NASA and the U.S. Navy have practiced recovery techniques for the Orion spacecraft crew module that's being sent aloft later this year.

Orion is a manned spacecraft for future missions to asteroids, the Moon and Mars, and will carry between two and 12 astronauts.

Lockheed said a recent simulated recovery of the module enabled the practicing of at-sea recovery techniques and evaluation of procedures, hardware and personnel.

In the exercise, dive teams recovered the spacecraft and positioned it on the USS Anchorage using a Lockheed Martin recovery cradle, recovery winch, and sea anchor.

"Completing recovery simulations in a real, ocean environment before EFT-1 is incredibly helpful," said Larry Price, Lockheed Martin deputy program manager for the Orion program. "This test allows us to improve the procedures for handling the crew module and determine if the recovery equipment designs are precise, safe and efficient."

EFT-1 stands for Exploration Flight Test-1, which will take place on December 4th using an unmanned spacecraft. The spacecraft will be launch on a Delta IV rocket and travel 3,600 miles beyond low Earth orbit and then return to Earth at a speed of about 20,000 miles per hour before splashing down in the Pacific Ocean.

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