NASA’s Orion Crew Module Recovery [PHOTOS]

A Delta IV heavy rocket lifts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 7:05 a.m. EST carrying NASA’s Orion spacecraft on an unpiloted flight test to Earth orbit. Photo: NASA/U.S. Navy

Following last Friday’s historic first test flight of NASA’s new Orion spacecraft, U.S. Navy sailors were on-hand to recover the Orion Crew Module after its splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.

NASA’s Orion spacecraft took off Friday morning from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on its first unmanned flight test into Earth’s orbit. The two-orbit, four-and-a-half hour mission was used evaluate the systems critical to crew safety, the launch abort system, the heat shield and the parachute system.

Following the crew module’s splashdown, sailors aboard the amphibious transport dock ship USS Anchorage (LPD 23) were deployed to recover the equipment using a Navy welldeck recovery method.

NASA’s Orion Program is being called the future of space travel for the United States, and could some day help carry astronauts into deep space, including manned missions to asteroids and even Mars.

Here’s a collection of photos from the module recovery:

U.S. Navy and NASA Team up for Exploration Flight Test - 1

U.S. Navy and NASA Team up for Exploration Flight Test - 1

NASA Orion Program

Orion 2

NASA Orion Program

Orion 1

Photos courtesy U.S. Navy