NASA says it’s simulating a splashdown of its Orion spacecraft in Virginia, this time with crash test dummies, as it prepares to eventually send humans to Mars.
A pendulum will swing a test capsule into a pool of water Thursday at NASA’s Langley facility in Hampton. Inside will be dummies in spacesuits that represent a 105-pound woman and a 220-pound man.
The agency will evaluate the effects of landing at different velocities and in various conditions. For instance, one of its parachutes could fail as it returns from space or it could hit rough seas.
The spacecraft sailed through its first unmanned test flight in 2014, splashing down in the Pacific Ocean. Another unmanned launch is scheduled for 2018. The agency hopes Orion will carry astronauts into space by 2023.