Three 300-pound main parachutes gently lower a mockup Orion capsule to the ground during a test at the U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona on Dec. 20 (Image: NASA)
With NASA's Orion spacecraft intended to carry crews to the moon, an asteroid and Mars, it will be taking human beings farther into space than ever before. Hopefully, it will also be bringing them back, with the distance of the return trips seeing the spacecraft picking up a lot of speed and reentering the Earth’s atmosphere faster than any previous spacecraft. In the latest in a series of tests that bring the spacecraft another step towards a planned first test flight in 2014, NASA has verified the capsule will safely make it back to terra firma even if one of its drogue parachutes fails to open.
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