NASA launched an alternative version of the Orion capsule in a huge pool on Tuesday (6), successfully carrying out another important test in preparation for the Artemis Project, which aims to take astronauts back to the Moon for the first time since the Apollo missions.
The experiment at the Langley Research Center in Virginia (United States), which at first does not seem to make sense, is actually an impact test to see how the nearly 7-ton spacecraft behaves, simulating one of the last stages of the mission. , when Orion returns from the trip to the natural satellite.
For the test, broadcast live on Twitter, the American space agency used a replica of the spacecraft, which was launched from a height of 2 meters into a pool with 3.8 million liters of water, called Hydro Impact Basin. Check out the video below:
“The test data will help engineers better understand what the Orion capsule and its crew can experience when they land in the Pacific Ocean,” commented NASA. New tests of the type are expected to happen soon, including the fall from a higher height and the launch of the equipment from a different angle.
Preparing to make history
In addition to Orion, another piece of equipment that is being evaluated is the Space Launch System (SLS) mega rocket, responsible for boosting the launches of the Artemis program missions. In March, it was triggered for more than 8 minutes for a “hot fire” test, successfully performed.
If the schedule is maintained, the first trip of the SLS capsule and rocket (Artemis I) will take place by the end of this year, on an unmanned test flight. Then, Artemis II, already manned, will take astronauts for a quick tour around the Moon, in 2022 or 2023.
The next step is to take a man and the first woman to the Moon, in 2024, and later expand the program, going to Mars.