NASA conducted the first water drop test of the Orion spacecraft ahead of the upcoming Artemis lunar missions, and the cameras captured the 11-foot-high capsule as it plunged into the Hydro Impact Basin, a large reservoir of water at the Landing and Impact Research Facility of the Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.
According to the British newspaper “Daily Mail”, the vehicle was launched only from a height of about 18 inches, and NASA said that water impact tests are part of engineers’ efforts to simulate some landing scenarios as soon as possible from real world conditions.
In November 2021, the first Artemis mission will launch a unmanned flight to the moon and back, to be followed by an Artemis II manned flight in 2023, following the same path, and then the planned Artemis III landing on the moon’s surface in 2024.
“The current tests are using a new crew module configuration that represents the final design of the spacecraft, and the test was the first of four water tests planned at the facility over the next month,” NASA said after the drop test.
It’s not about trying to reduce uncertainty in the model and more about the load to the design boundaries, lifting the model higher in height and higher in the load, but the engineering design process is iterative, so you learn more about how the structure behaves, said Chris Tarkington, a project engineer at NASA. Updates are being made to process what it learns from the tests. ”