Splish, Splash, Orion Takes a Bath

The Orion spacecraft is a capsule built to take humans farther than they’ve ever gone before, to deep space and eventually Mars. But before astronauts travel inside this new vehicle, we have to perform tests to ensure their safety.

One of these tests that we’ll talk about today simulates an ocean splashdown. Water impact testing helps us evaluate how Orion may behave when landing under its parachutes in different wind conditions and wave heights. The spacecraft has been undergoing a series of these tests at our Langley Research Center’s Hydro Impact Basin…which is our fancy way of saying pool.

The test capsule, coupled with the heat shield from Orion’s first spaceflight, swung like a pendulum into Langley’s 20-foot-deep basin on Aug. 25.

Inside the capsule were two test dummies – one representing a 105-pound woman and the other, a 220-pound man — each wearing spacesuits equipped with sensors. These sensors will provide critical data that will help us understand the forces crew members could experience when they splash down in the ocean.

This specific drop was the ninth in a series of 10 tests taking place at Langley’s Landing and Impact Research Facility. It was designed to simulate one of the Orion spacecraft’s most stressful landing scenarios, a case where one of the capsule’s three main parachutes fails to deploy. That would cause Orion to approach its planned water landing faster than normal and at an undesirable angle.

Under ideal conditions, the Orion capsule would slice into the water of the Pacific Ocean traveling about 17 miles per hour. This test had it hitting the pool at about 20 mph, and in a lateral orientation. Instead of being pushed down into their seats, astronauts in this scenario would splashdown to the side.

With this test’s success and one final drop in this series scheduled for mid-September, researchers have accumulated a lot of important information.

To find out more, visit nasa.gov or follow @nasaorion​ on Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook.

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com

Dragon CRS-9 on the deck of its recovery ship earlier today. At 11:47am EDT, the capsule splashed down more than 300 miles off the coast of Baja California, bringing more than 3,100 pounds of experiments and equipment back to Earth from the International Space Station.

Once the capsule is back in port, SpaceX will remove time-sensitive experiments for NASA. The capsule will then travel to the company’s facility at McGregor, where it will undergo further cargo unloading and further safing.

P/c: SpaceX

Happy Birthday Katherine Johnson!

She’s 98 years old today, and she helped change the world. Fox is making a movie about her experiences at #NASA, here’s a cool video they made that calculates her life in numbers.

What’s happening to that meteor? Some time ago, a bright fireball was photographed from the Alps mountain range in Switzerland as it blazed across the sky. The fireball, likely from the Taurids meteor shower, was notable not only for how bright it was, but for the rare orange light it created that lingered for several minutes. Initially, the orange glow made it seem like the meteor trail was on fire. However, the orange glow, known as a persistent train, originated neither from fire nor sunlight-reflecting smoke. Rather, the persistent train’s glow emanated from atoms in the Earth’s atmosphere in the path of the meteor – atoms that had an electron knocked away and emit light during reacquisition. Persistent trains often drift, so that the long 3-minute exposure actually captured the initial wind-blown displacement of these bright former ions. The featured image was acquired when trying to image the famous Orion Nebula, visible on the upper left. The bright blue star Rigel, part of the constellation of Orion, is visible to the right.

Object Names: Object from the Taurid Meteor Shower

Image Type: Astronomical

Credit: Ivo Scheggia

Time And Spce


Wernher von Braun’s office in Alabama (1965)
Wernher von Braun (1912-1977), director of NASA’s MarchallSpace Flight Center, at his office in Huntsville, Alabama. On a shelf behind is a row of his rocket models. You also can see the first rocket in history which reached space which is the V2/A4 rocket (second on the left). Wernher von Braun rocket scientist (ALL VIDEOS): www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL-HsE-FedVRg3kVyyhy5ohjoNV… ( ALL PHOTOS ) : www.flickr.com/photos/mrdanbeaumont/albums/72157630355100616

Also, Happy Women’s Equality Day!! Chillin with a few fellow STEM ladies as we train to join Mission Control at NASA Johnson Space Center!

There’s still much to be done for equality, and we’re beyond fortunate to have had women before us fight to help us get where we are today. Let’s continue the push for equality worldwide!

Dream big everyone ;)


Happy Birthday Katherine Johnson!


Okay guys be honest can you tell I was fangirling and spent like an hour staring at drafts of responses or-

Been in sims and everything and talked and chilled and I’ll still never get used to interacting with awesome NASA people I’m a mess bye x_x

Originally posted by mycornerrofthesky