"We are ready to rock and roll for the recovery of Orion after Exploration Mission-1."
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLORIDA (NASA) – A NASA and Defense Ministry returned from a week of maritime education to improve joint landing and recovery operations scheduled for crew aboard the agency's Orion spacecraft from future deep exploration missions.
Departs from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Exploration Ground Systems team launched the USS John P. Murtha, a US Navy Navy Navy vessel with the main goal of ensuring all its recycling equipment was up to the task. This test run was known as Underway Recovery Test-7 or URT-7.
Recovery support equipment includes the Orion Recovery Cradle Assembly, or ORCA, the cradle where spacecraft finally puts down; winch and rig lines that are lovingly called LLAMAs, cards for the Line Load Attenuating Mechanism Assembly; and even seemingly small things like tipping pins. But it's no small task to make sure all equipment works as planned and without damage to spacecraft.
The integrated rescue team worked in tandem to put out equipment through its steps the past week – and NASA's leading design engineer Jeremy Parr was in place to evaluate the testing.
"We had a great week," Parr said when all the tests were done and the ship returned to the beach.
"From start to finish we had some bumps, we took it slowly and had some training days, but at the end of the week we had almost perfect runs. And it depends on sailors and LLAMA operators – all worked together as a team."
Parr and others have worked with the recovery concept over the past five years. With the exception of the winch control system, everything has been constructed and built internally at Kennedy under Parr's leadership – and it passed the entire stone.
The entire Landing and Recovery Team was led by NASA's Melissa Jones. During URT-7 she was happy to see the whole team's hard work pay off. "The test this week has gone very well," she said.
The team performed the first full recovery at night, which lasted until the small hours of the morning. Jones chocked it up to lessons about possible complications of night operations and work with the ship and diver into the open water in less than optimal conditions.
"The team continues to surprise me with their intelligence, determination and tireless work ethic," Jones said. "A big thank you to the USS John P. Murtha crew for their help and hospitality. The success of this week would not have been possible without its positivity and attitude."
The crew are not the only ones who have a positive attitude. Parr and the rest of the team are heading back to Kennedy with a renewed sense of accomplishment.
"I now have complete confidence in every hardware we have," said Parr. "We are ready to rock and roll for the recovery of Orion after Exploration Mission-1."
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