NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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Orion spacecraft. Animation of the parachute descent stage of a test flight of the Orion spacecraft. This manned spacecraft is being developed by NASA, the US space agency. Rather than being able to glide to a runway, like the Space Shuttles, the Orion crew modules will parachute into the ocean. This animation shows the use of a set of eight parachutes collectively known as the Capsule Parachute Assembly System (CPAS). Drogue parachutes (successively discarded) are deployed first to stabilise and slow the spacecraft after re-entry and aid deployment of the three main parachutes (orange and white). After splashdown, the crew will be retrieved by helicopter and ship. The first Orion test flights are proposed for 2014. For different stages in an Orion test flight, see clips K003/2141-2144.
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