Thursday, July 4, 2013

Orion: multipurpose spacecraft system

Orion - a multi-purpose reusable manned spacecraft currently is in the development stage. The first test flight is scheduled for September 2014. This ship, in addition to delivery of cargo and astronauts to the ISS, is also intended to fly beyond the near-Earth space: the moon, asteroids, Mars and beyond. Orion will be the first such device since the Apollo missions.

Shortly before the main transport ship was NASA Space Shuttle, but it has some drawbacks. Shuttle equipped with wings, tail and other equipment for maneuvering in the atmosphere, which allows him to perform horizontal and safe landing. However, all of these details is critical to increase air resistance and will not allow the ship to enter the atmosphere at a speed higher than the first space, which imposes a limit on the range.

His other drawback - the lack of solar panels, which would help the ship remain in space for a long time. Maximum stay Shuttle beyond Earth is only 2 weeks, which is not evens enough for a full flight to the moon.

Orion does not have these drawbacks. Life support systems will enable the crew is on board for 900 days, and a return to the classical system of landing on water can significantly increase the maximum rate of re-entry. In addition, Orion equipped with navigation and communication with the Earth, working at removing the long haul.

Similarly to Apollo, Orion will use the atmosphere to slow down and de-orbit, and then slowly sit down in the ocean, opening parachutes. Removing the astronauts from landing capsule usually performs the Naval Fleet. As a rule, the moment when the capsule touches the water is perceived by the observer as the successful completion of the mission, but in fact in terrestrial services is still a lot of work to evacuate astronauts and recovery of the ship itself. In August 2013 at the naval base in Norfolk, Va., will be tested systems and equipment that will be used to perform these tasks after the flight of Orion.

To do this test will be used in the Orion model full-size, conventionally called BTA (boilerplate test article - a standard test sample). BTA has previously been used to predict the behavior of Orion when immersed in water. For testing in August weight BTA will be changed to be approximately equal to the mass of Orion with cargo and crew, as well as increased strength will be sealed walls that need to withstand a collision with the surface of the ocean.

The first task of the rescue team after landing - this is the evacuation of astronauts and their security. Immediately after this, get out of the water capsule itself. This should be done as soon as possible, as if the capsule was damaged during landing, probably, it will not long be kept out of the water.

To capture the capsule uses special equipment, is a steel frame, the size of 5x6 meters. Self locking is performed by means of special stops moving on rails. Later in this shell capsule will be lifted on board the ship. It is held in this condition throughout the transport.

The main purpose of the test carried out - is to work out cooperation with NASA Navy, training staff to work with the new equipment and tests the rapid preparation of equipment to the top job.

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