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NASA Mars Technology

NASA's Orion Spaceship Passes Parachute Test 75

An anonymous reader writes The spacecraft it is hoped will take man to Mars has passed its first parachute tests. Nasa's Orion spacecraft landed gently using its parachutes after being shoved out of a military jet at 35,000 feet. "We've put the parachutes through their paces in ground and airdrop testing in just about every conceivable way before we begin sending them into space on Exploration Flight Test (EFT)-1 before the year's done," Orion program manager Mark Geyer said in a NASA statement. "The series of tests has proven the system and will help ensure crew and mission safety for our astronauts in the future."
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NASA's Orion Spaceship Passes Parachute Test

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  • Ahh man (Score:5, Funny)

    by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Thursday June 26, 2014 @10:29PM (#47330101) Homepage Journal
    Now I'm going to have to go build a military jet in Kerbal Space Program and push a capsule with parachutes out of it.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Perhaps 300 years from now archaeologists of the day will discover traces, artifacts, of our culture and technology, and wonder ... what happened.

  • by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) * on Thursday June 26, 2014 @10:43PM (#47330159)

    Part of me is happy to see NASA doing this kind of development.

    On the other hand, I suspect that some version of SpaceX's Dragon will carry men into space long before Orion.

    • It is very likely that the Dragon capsule will carry astronauts before Orion, but SpaceX, Boeing, Sierra Nevada, et. al. are only going to LEO, Orion is being developed for long duration deep space travel. Moon, asteroids, Mars perhaps.
      • by TWX ( 665546 )
        Bear in mind that Musk's goal is long-duration deep space travel, so it still may be possible that SpaceX will still get there before Orion gets off the ground, especially if his successes in Earth orbit make it easier to continue development past it.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          SpaceX capsule is for LEO. They would need to build something else for further out. Orion is for further out. They will not use Orion to get to space station. They will use Orion for other missions.

          SpaceX is the contractor for LEO stuff and will remain so and it will be quite lucrative for them and for NASA. NASA needs contracts like SpaceX for things like orbiting fuel depot which will use quite a lot of cheap rockets, which fits perfectly with SpaceX's reusable rocket idea.

          • by TWX ( 665546 )
            Yes, I understand what Dragon is for, and what they're contracted to do for NASA.

            They themselves have the goal of going beyond that. Dragon, Falcon, and the other low-earth projects are stepping stones toward proving technologies needed for going further. Sure, there's a lot of tech that they'd need that won't be developed by Dragon/Falcon, but a whole lot of support and control systems can be tested where there's low risk (ie, unmanned missions or once manned, where actually occupied for only a short
        • Which is why this project should just be canceled. There are private companies working on this. We don't have the USG competing with Intel, "just in case" they don't beat Moore's law. There's not compelling national security interest in putting a man on Mars - the whole program should just be defunded and let the companies work out how to do it. Return the money to the taxpayers, pay for some more healthcare, or whatever - the first step is realizing that the NASA model is not required in this case.


    • by caseih ( 160668 )

      Yes I agree. I'm also happy that NASA is making progress on this. I think it's a worthwhile endeavor, even if it is tied to earmarks and corporate welfare, much moreso than SpaceX's lucrative NASA contracts.

      I also am excited at what SpaceX is doing. They are certainly the farthest along, and most likely to succeed in the near term. Who knows. Maybe in the future if SpaceX is the only American company visiting the space station and hauling astronauts, they could just take over space station operations an

    • On the other hand, I suspect that some version of SpaceX's Dragon will carry men into space long before Orion.

      Perhaps. But I suspect Orion will carry men back from space long before anyone ever figures out what happened to Dragon and its crew.

  • by Crashmarik ( 635988 ) on Thursday June 26, 2014 @11:00PM (#47330215)

    Every time I see Orion mentioned, I get my hopes up about nuclear powered interstellar craft. []

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Orion is not going to take man to Mars. It's way too small to deal with the enormous life support requirements for a journey to Mars.

    Despite SpaceX and Nasa enthusiasm for a Mars trip the reality is we are at least several decades away from a manned Mars mission. Two way is unlikely any time soon because of cost. One could build a ship big enough for the mission in earth orbit but a big ship would probably need fuel to slow down as it approaches Mars. Aerobraking a large ship into Mars orbit is magnitudes

    • Children on Mars would probably turn out...weird. Less gravity, higher radiation...after the 2nd generation they might not even be able to com4e back to earth!
    • A one way tip seems much more feasible.

      Once we have the ability to actually get to Mars with assurance to actually carry out the mission at all, getting back will be trivial. There's no need for a one way mission, and no ability to do a sustained base on the first try.

    • Here's the good thing about NASA's hardware: it usually has a docking port. Orion might be small, but so was the Apollo Command Module. However, once in orbit, you can rendezvous with something else that is already up there (or launched on the same rocket stack if you want to go 1960s mega-rocket) that has the supplies necessary for the journey, landing and stay. Then, when they blast off the surface of Mars, they rendezvous with another remote-controlled spacecraft following behind that is in Mars orbi

  • by caffiend666 ( 598633 ) on Friday June 27, 2014 @12:37AM (#47330473) Homepage

    Not the first test. First test failed five years ago.... [] Have been other successful tests since then: [] . Nowhere does the article describe these as the first tests....

    • previous tests went into space first and did an end to end test. This will be the first test emulating a mission.

  • by martin-boundary ( 547041 ) on Friday June 27, 2014 @05:20AM (#47331135)
    What's the terminal velocity on Mars?
    • What's the terminal velocity on Mars?

      approximately 930 kph

    • That depends on 5 main factors:
      air density (depends on altitude)
      aerodynamic shape of the object
      Frontal surface of the object
      Mass of the object
      The gravitational acceleration on Mars (approx 4 m/s^2)

      If I assume the air pressure of 1% of earth means that the density is also 1% then:
      p=0.1225 kg/m3.
      If I assume a C of 1 (approximately a man facing the planet, see here [] for more common C's), an A of 1m^2 and a m of 100kg

      Plug all that in a calculator like this one [].

      Then I get a terminal velocity of 82 m/s (or appro

      • If I assume the air pressure of 1% of earth means that the density is also 1% then: p=0.1225 kg/m3.

        Then I get a terminal velocity of 82 m/s (or approx 300 km/u), if you drop down flat.

        You're off by an order of magnitude on that atmospheric density. Terminal velocity is going to be three times that high.

    • What's the terminal velocity on Mars?

      Same as on Earth -- Zero. You're not terminal until you smack into the planet. Do you mean "Maximum screaming for your life velocity"? You hit that just before hitting terminal velocity.

      It's a joke, Son.

  • Looks like something from 40 years ago.
  • by Assmasher ( 456699 ) on Friday June 27, 2014 @08:15AM (#47331665) Journal

    Seriously NASA?

    SpaceX is launching rockets that effing land themselves and you're celebrating that your parachute works? Well, those are new...

  • For Immediate Release Hundreds of dignitaries gathered on Wednesday at the Lockheed Martin Space Systems Plant in Littleton CO for the installation of screw 112-454.B in NASA's latest emerging spacecraft the Orion Test Article. Vice President Biden was on hand to celebrate this important milestone on America's return to space.. "We salute the hard work of hundreds of thousands of American's from every state in the union for their efforts in ensuring the successful installation of screw 112-454.B. They rep

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