NASA testing America's newest space capsule at Yuma Proving Grou

Yuma

NASA testing America's newest space capsule at Yuma Proving Grounds

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Photo courtesy of Yuma International Airport Photo courtesy of Yuma International Airport

Story by: Meteorologist Tim Lavigne

YUMA, Ariz. (13 On Your Side) – NASA officials are in Yuma to test America's newest spacecraft.

The spacecraft is called ‘Orion' and it is the first capsule designed to fly astronauts to space since the Apollo era.

The capsule will be dropped high above the Yuma Sky on Wednesday to test its parachutes.

NASA plans to launch Orion next year in September. But before they do, there's a lot of testing that needs to be done.

NASA officials are here at the Yuma Proving Grounds to test the spacecraft's parachutes to figure out how to slow it down from 22,000 miles per hour to a safe landing speed of 22 miles per hour.

Officials plan to load the 32,000 pound capsule onto an Air Force C-17 plane that will take it up and drop it from 25,000 feet.

If the test if successful, it will mark another step towards rating the parachutes for manned re-entry into our atmosphere.

Roy Fox, owner of Fox Parachute Services was able to give us a little more insight on how these new parachutes will help keep our astronauts safe on their trip home.

"A skydiver uses something called a ram air wing," explained Fox. "Each time you apply a parachute to a particular set of circumstances, there are a lot of unknowns."

NASA will test Orion's parachutes on Wednesday. The capsule will land within a landing zone at Yuma Proving Ground.

The testing is closed to the public. NASA would not say what time the test landing will take place.

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