Orion spacecraft stationary recovery test.
On August 15, 2013, at the Naval Station Norfolk near NASA's Langley Research Center in Virginia, NASA and the U.S. Navy conducted a stationary recovery test on the Orion boilerplate test article in the water near a U.S. Navy ship.
NASA and the U.S. Navy are conducting tests to prepare for recovery of the Orion crew module and forward bay cover on its return from a deep space mission. The stationary recovery tests allow the teams to demonstrate and evaluate the recovery processes, the hardware and the test personnel in a controlled environment.
During the test, the U.S Navy Dive Team checked the capsule for hazards while sailors from the USS Arlington approached the capsule in inflatable boats, and towed it back to the ship's flooded well deck. A second test will be conducted next year in the open waters of the Pacific Ocean.
Orion is the exploration spacecraft designed to carry astronauts to destinations not yet explored by humans, including an asteroid and Mars. It will have emergency abort capability, sustain the crew during space travel and provide safe re-entry from deep space return velocities. The first unpiloted test flight of the Orion is scheduled to launch in 2014 atop a Delta IV rocket and in 2017 on NASA's Space Launch System rocket.