NASA made a splash at this time (April 6) by dropping a take a look at model of its Orion crew capsule for future moon missions into a pool. The 14,000-lb. (6,400 kilograms) take a look at capsule, a practically equivalent reproduction of the actual Orion, plunged into the Hydro Impact Basin at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, at 2:02 p.m. EDT (1802 GMT) at this time. It was launched from a peak of about 7 ft (2 meters) and solely fell for about a second earlier than it splashed into the water. “That was amazing,” Ally Olney, a digital media specialist at NASA Langley who hosted a stay webcast of the take a look at, mentioned because the capsule bobbed within the water after a profitable splashdown. “Can’t get better than that. It looks like a perfect release, and looks like the capsule behaved as expected,” Jacob Putnam, a knowledge analyst at Langley, added.Video: Orion capsule dropped into a hydro influence basin by NASAImage 1 of 4(From left) Jacob Putnam, Ally Olney and Debbie Korth pose with the Orion take a look at article in entrance of the Hydro Impact Basin at NASA’s Langley Research Center. (Image credit score: NASA Langley by way of Twitter)Image 2 of 4 Engineers at NASA Langley put together for the Orion drop take a look at on April 6, 2021. (Image credit score: NASA Orion by way of Twitter)Image three of 4The Orion take a look at article hangs over the Hydro Impact Basin at NASA’s Langley Research Center, forward of its deliberate drop take a look at on April 6, 2021. (Image credit score: NASA TV)Image Four of 4A take a look at model of NASA’s Orion spacecraft splashes into the Hydro Impact Basin at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, at 2:02 p.m. EDT (1802 GMT) on April 6, 2021. (Image credit score: NASA TV)Today’s drop take a look at is a part of a sequence of checks NASA started March 23 “to finalize computer models for loads and structures prior to the Artemis II flight test, NASA’s first mission with crew aboard Orion,” NASA officers mentioned in a assertion. The Orion spacecraft is designed to launch astronauts to the moon for NASA’s Artemis program, and it may doubtlessly be used to hold astronauts to different locations past Earth’s orbit. Orion returns these crews safely to Earth with a parachute-assisted splashdown within the ocean. For the drop take a look at, engineers at NASA Langley loaded greater than 500 sensors into the mock spacecraft “to measure the forces that are acting on the test article during the impact event,” Putnam mentioned. “Those forces are going to tell us a lot about any risk to the structure of the test article or any components inside of it, and the motion of the capsule through the water is going to tell us a lot about what the occupants inside might be experiencing,” Putnam mentioned. “So, really with this test we’re ensuring that both the test vehicle — or future Orion vehicle — as well as the astronauts inside are safe during any future landings.”A take a look at model of NASA’s Orion spacecraft splashes into the Hydro Impact Basin at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, at 2:02 p.m. EDT (1802 GMT) on April 6, 2021. (Image credit score: NASA TV)NASA nonetheless has not less than two extra water-impact checks deliberate for this Orion take a look at capsule. After one final “drop test” from a increased altitude, it can bear a “swing test,” throughout which it can swing into the water at an angle, rope swing-style. Once these drop checks are full, “this is sort of the end of the road for this test article,” NASA’s Orion Crew and Service Module supervisor Debbie Korth mentioned throughout a stay webcast of at this time’s take a look at. “This will be the last big test to qualify the structure, but it’s been used all along the way for a variety of tests to verify the vehicle design,” she added.The first deliberate mission with NASA’s Orion capsule shall be an uncrewed take a look at flight known as Artemis 1, presently scheduled to launch in late 2021 on a Space Launch System (SLS) megarocket — the rocket NASA plans to make use of for all Orion missions. The actual Orion capsule that may fly on Artemis 1 arrived in Florida in March 2020 to start preparations for its inaugural launch. Artemis 2, the primary crewed Orion mission that may carry astronauts on a loop across the moon, is presently scheduled to launch in 2023, adopted by the Artemis three crewed lunar touchdown mission in 2024.Whether NASA will stick with that schedule beneath the brand new presidential administration — President Trump in 2017 directed NASA to land on the moon by 2024 — stays to be seen. Both Orion and SLS have confronted quite a few delays of their growth, the most recent being a results of shutdowns amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to a number of delays, the pandemic is anticipated to price NASA $three billion general. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.