NASA is testing the Orion spacecraft's parachute in a drop test beginning at 10:30 a.m. EDT on July 24. The test will last for one hour and the space agency will provide a live stream and chat with project scientists about Orion and the testing.
As part of the parachute drop test, NASA has set up a Google+ Hangout page where viewers can ask questions about the mission. Orion is described as a Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle and will be used to transport crew and supplies from Earth to space. The spacecraft can also be used for emergency abort missions and will be used by astronauts for re-entry. NASA will simulate a parachute failure during Wednesday's test.
According to NASA, an Orion test capsule will be dropped from an airplane from 35,000 feet over U.S. Army's Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona. The space agency will try to determine if the capsule can land safely if one of its three parachutes fail. The capsule will be equipped with three main parachutes are necessary to slow down the spacecraft as it makes it re-entry.
Prior to having any crew onboard the Orion spacecraft, NASA has planned a test flight for September 2014 that send the spacecraft 3,600 miles away from Earth. NASA states Orion could reach speeds of 20,000 miles per hour as it re-enters Earth's atmosphere. The MPCV will be used for deep space missions that could last up to six months and the first manned flight is expected to happen by 2021.
The NASA live stream begins at 10:30 a.m. EDT and can be viewed below. NASA and Army team members will be participating in the test and will be answering questions at the Google+ Hangout.
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