NASA is currently working its way through all the tests required to certify the Orion spacecraft for flight. The Orion spacecraft will be used as the space vehicle to ferry astronauts and cargo to the moon and beyond as part of the Artemis missions in the future. One of the tests the spacecraft has to complete and pass prior to being certified for flight is the water drop test.
NASA has now announced that the Orion spacecraft has completed its first water drop test, which was conducted at the Langley Research Center Landing and Impact Research Facility in Hampton, Virginia. Cameras captured the capsule being dropped from a height of 18 inches into a Hydro impact basin. That basin is essentially a large tank of water meant for simulating landings in various environments.
The Orion capsule has been in testing with NASA since 2011. Drop tests are critical to ensure that the capsule is safe enough for passengers inside during landings on various surfaces. Orion was tested in the latest water drop test using the most recent configuration of the Orion multi-purpose crew vehicle. This particular version is the final design for Orion.
The test is part of the formal qualification test program to fulfill the structural design and requirement verifications before the Artemis II mission. Artemis II will be the first of the missions with crew aboard the capsule. NASA plans to use data captured during the test in its final computer models for loads and structures prior to the Artemis II flight test.
While NASA is gearing up for Artemis II, it’s also conducting preparations for the Artemis I mission. Earlier this year, NASA sent the Artemis I Orion spacecraft to begin its fueling process and integration with the rest of the rocket structure.