Crews from the Coast Guard Station Fort Macon and USCGC Maple, a 225-foot seagoing buoy tender, work March 10 with NASA members and the Orion Spacecraft development team to test the full-scale replica of the Orion Crew Module, or PORT, the station announced Sunday on Facebook and included a series of photos. To see more photos of the open water testing, visit the Coast Guard Station Fort Macon’s Facebook.
The Station’s 47-foot motor lifeboat towed the replica to an offshore test location. The open water testing for the Orion Crew Module included the Maple using its crane to flip the spacecraft over to simulate a splashdown of the module in rough conditions in the open sea.
A series of inflatable bags called the Crew Module Uprighting System, or CMUS, were activated once the spacecraft was upside down to test the crew’s ability to reorient and stabilize the capsule.
The CMUS system has undergone upgrades and testing in both NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory and in the Gulf Of Mexico.
This round of testing took place to validate the system’s effectiveness in open ocean conditions similar to what might be experienced during Orion’s actual splashdown, according to the Coast Guard. Station crews and the cutter Maple also provided platforms for NASA to collect imagery and vital test data that will be used in the final development of Orion components.
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