NASA and Army engineers have been working on the Orion test capsule, and will drop it from a plane flying at 35,000 feet today to evaluate its parachutes.
“During the event, you will see one of Orion’s most difficult parachute tests to date and hear from NASA and Army team members involved,” says NASA. “Engineers will simulate a failure of one of the spacecraft’s three main parachutes, releasing it before Orion has landed.”
The test is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. EDT through 11:30 a.m. EDT.
Orion is slated to be sent 3,600 miles in September 2014 in another, more complex test. The parachutes are being tested today to make sure they can work to slow the capsule for a safe landing in the Pacific Ocean during the 2014 test as the craft reenters Earth’s atmosphere at speeds of up to 20,000 miles per hour.
Ultimately, Orion is meant to carry serve as an exploration vehicle in deep space.