Media invited to next test of Orion spacecraft parachutes

NASA has extended an invitation to the media to attend a test of the Orion spacecraft´s parachutes on Wednesday, March 8, at the US Army´s Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona, the organization said.

Media will have the opportunity to interview Orion engineers, see the model up close and view the test from the drop zone.

Orion is scheduled for its second airdrop test, in a series of eight, to qualify the parachute system for crewed flights. During the test, an engineering model of the Orion spacecraft will be dropped from a C-17 aircraft flying at an altitude of 25,000 feet. The test will simulate a descent sequence astronauts might experience if they have to abort a mission after liftoff.

Orion´s parachutes are critical to the safe return of the spacecraft to Earth, whether during an abort sequence or at the end of a successful deep space mission. They help stabilize and slow the crew module to about 20 mph, enabling a safe splashdown in the ocean.

The Orion spacecraft will carry astronauts to space, provide emergency abort capabilities, sustain the crew during their mission, and provide safe re-entry through Earth´s atmosphere.