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NASA releases Orion crash photos


Budding astronauts, avert your eyes. NASA has posted photos of a failed test landing (read: crash) of a mock-up of the Orion crew exploration vehicle, part of the Constellation program to replace the shuttle in 2015.

NASA dropped the Orion mock-up from a C-17 aircraft flying 25,000 feet about the U.S. Army's Yuma Testing Grounds in Arizona on July 31. The good news: All but one of 18 parachutes inflated. The bad news: That 18th one was responsible for orienting the mock-up for a safe landing (see results at left). The space agency said it was torn and didn't inflate properly.

Keith Cowing of wonders why NASA isn't advertising the new images, posted online yesterday without fanfare.

Image credit: NASA

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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