September 29, 2012
HAMPTON, Va. (AP) - NASA says it has completed final testing of the water impact of the Orion spacecraft at its Langley Research Center in Hampton.
The space agency says it recently completed the testing of the impact of an 18,000-pound test version of the spacecraft in the same facility where Apollo astronauts trained for moonwalks.
Officials say swing and drop testing began last summer to certify the Orion spacecraft for water landings. The next round of water impact testing is scheduled to begin in late 2013 using a full-sized model.
NASA says the first space-bound Orion capsule will launch on an uncrewed flight planned for 2014 to test several systems.
Orion will travel farther than any human spacecraft has gone in more than 40 years.