NASA releases astronaut’s-eye view video of Orion spacecraft return (+video)

As the Orion re-entered Earth’s atmosphere it put on a spectacular light show. The show was captured by NASA cameras that were armed on the craft and showed exactly what astronauts see as they re-enter the atmosphere here on Earth. However, it wasn’t captured flawlessly. While the expectation was that it would capture a more specific view, the only thing that it caught was an incredible light show of plasma.

The pink, red, and black combination is what the camera first caught. Then, as the craft re-entered the atmosphere the colors swiftly changed to blue – in almost an instant. While the remains of the Orion craft look like they’ve spent an extended period of time in a fire – that’s really just due to the heat of returning into Earth’s atmosphere. However, even with as impressive as the red hued colors initially were, the more impressive portion of the re-entry was the swift change from black and red to blue and white. Almost instantaneously, the atmosphere changed from black and red to blue.

The Orion craft was moving an estimated 20,000mph as it re-entered the atmosphere and as it got into the middle portions of the atmosphere when the parachutes deployed. Then, the craft began slowing down, and more was visible. Interestingly, the Orion craft slowed down to a mere 20mph just before the moment of splashdown. A far cry from the super speed that the craft was carrying leading up to the moment of re-entering Earth’s atmosphere.

The Orion craft was carried back and recovered by a NASA team, as well as the USS Anchorage. At that point it was loaded up on a transporter and brought back to Kennedy Space Center. It arrived there on Thursday, and it was driven – a much more cautious mode of transportation compared to what the craft was used to, to that point.

The test flight that it was on took 4.5-hours, and took the craft an estimated 3,600 miles above Earth before finally re-entering the atmosphere and coming back to Earth. Scientists and NASA representatives point out that the craft will definitely be hotter when it returns from lengthier flights, and will likely carry heavier speeds on those flights – but this flight was a good test for the craft, and a good way to see what was going to be effective, as well as what parts of the craft might be stressed through the process.

NASA is working diligently to solve the universe mystery. It’s Curiosity Rover has recently discovered the methane gas and organic molecule on Mars while Cassini is studying Saturn’s Titan.


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