NASA Testing Orion Engines and Parachutes
NASA is testing the Orion spacecraft's rocket engines and parachute systems.
Orion will be the first spacecraft designed to take astronauts beyond Earth orbit since the Apollo program. The spacecraft is being designed to take humans to the moon and maybe even asteroids. Current tests are focusing on the J-2X engines and the parachutes that will slow the capsule's descent back to Earth.
NASA has begun to focus its efforts again on the exploration of space, as commerical companies like SpaceX are begin to shuttle crews and gear to and from the International Space Station.
The new Orion spacecraft should make its first unmanned flight in 2014, when it will travel 3,600 miles from Earth. Humans last ventured that far into space in 1972 during the Apollo program. Manned missions around the moon are planned to take place by 2021.
Engineers at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi are testing the engines for Orion, reports Wired. Those engines, the J-2X, are designed by NASA and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne. Despite the nomenclature, the J-2X is a completely new engine compared to its predecessor, the famous J-2, which powered the Saturn V rockets to the moon during the Apollo era. Differences from the J-2 include a centrifugal turbo pump, replacing the axial pump on the older engine. Turbo pumps on a rocket engine use enormous pressure to pump the rocket fuel and oxidizer into the combustion chamber. Each of the two J-2X engines weighs more than 2.5 tons and will produce more than 290,000 pounds of thrust in a vacuum. These engines will create 25 percent more thrust than its predecessor.
NASA tested the parachutes for the spacecraft on Tuesday. They dropped a 21,000 pound Orion-shaped test capsule from 25,000 feet above the Arizona desert. The engineers purposefully kept one of the capsule's three parachutes from opening, but even with only two parachutes functioning, the capsule landed at a speed safe for astronauts.
Further tests will be done later this year to test the recovery process for the capsule. After splashing down, Orion will be picked up by a Navy landing platform dock ship, unlike former capsules that were recovered by helicopter and delivered to aircraft carriers.
NASA Needs to Keep Up With Today’s Context of Space Exploration, Says PPIRB
Planetary Protection Independent Review Board (PPIRB) calls NASA to update planetary protection policies
NASA’s Mars Rover Is As Cool As The Batmobile SUV
NASA unveiled a concept for a Mars Rover and it looks a lot like the Batmobile.
Google Co-Founder Sergey Brin Wants To Fly, Secret Airship In The Works
Google co-founder Sergey Brin has been secretly working on an airship inside one of NASA’s Ames hangar, with a former Air Force engineer at the helm. Could this be a pure passion endeavor or is it another Project Calcifer?
HP's Zbook Review: A Laptop That's Lightyears Away From Apple's Ancient Mac Pro
HP's latest workstation flagship is a beast. It easily outshines Apple's Mac Pro on many features.
Astrobees Robots Bound For ISS To Provide Assistance To Astronauts
Astronauts working at the ISS are going to get assistance from friendly cube robots that could fly around the station. The working bots are scheduled to be launched later this year.
NASA Finally Releases Its Raw Data From Our Sister Solar System And Here’s What You Have To Know
Considering that NASA have recently uncovered one of their major discoveries to have ever been made so far, what are the other details that we have to know about our so-called ‘sister solar system’? How habitable are these seven newly discovered planets? Here’s what authorities have to say
MORE IN ITECHPOST
Fitness Expert, Jolene Cherry, Explains How to Build Good Fitness Habits Using Tech
Cherry explores several different technology gizmos and gadgets to keep in mind when the initial burst of fitness motivation runs dry.
How Do Personal Emergency Response Systems Work?
Personal emergency response systems, known as PERS for short, are systems that help people to raise the alarm and get immediate help when a medical or personal emergency occurs. They are ideal for older people and anyone with a mobility issue or an injury or illness that can cause falls.
Eight Must-Have Tools to Keep Your Car Out of Garage
We all dread taking our car to a garage for repairs. We might just want to avoid the inconvenience of being off the road or maybe the costs associated, which can even lead to knock-on effects on things like our holiday plans.
6 Hacks for Students to Choose a Laptop While on a Budget
The modern world tries to drown us in the sea of choices. One can’t simply buy a laptop - there are hundreds of laptops around and sometimes our budget becomes the only real limitation we can rely on. But how to choose other parameters to get the best laptop possible?