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418th FLTS supports NASA in Orion spacecraft parachute test

The Orion spacecraft Capsule Parachute Assembly System team pose for a photo before the mockup spacecraft is loaded onto a C-17 Globemaster III, Dec. 11, in Yuma, Arizona. (U.S. Air Force photo by Christopher A. Okula)

A mockup of an Orion spacecraft is released from a C-17 Globemaster III Dec. 15 over the Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona. Airmen and testers from the 418th Flight Test Squadron joined Army, NASA and contractor personnel to participate in the test of the Orion’s parachute landing system. (U.S. Air Force photo by Christopher A. Okula)

The Orion spacecraft Capsule Parachute Assembly System team pose for a photo before the mockup spacecraft is loaded onto a C-17 Globemaster III, Dec. 11, in Yuma, Arizona. (U.S. Air Force photo by Christopher A. Okula)

Airmen and testers from the 418th Flight Test Squadron, Army and NASA personnel, prepare a mockup of a NASA Orion spacecraft aboard a C-17 Globemaster on loan from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, Dec. 15. The spacecraft was airdropped over the Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona as part of a test of the craft’s parachute landing system. NASA is continuing contingency tests of the Capsule Parachute Assembly System, or CPAS. (U.S. Air Force photo by Christopher A. Okula)

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --

Airmen and testers from the 418th Flight Test Squadron joined Army, NASA and contractor personnel to participate in an airdrop of a mockup of the Orion spacecraft. The capsule was airdropped from a C-17 Globemaster on loan from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, over the Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona. NASA is continuing contingency tests of the Capsule Parachute Assembly System, or CPAS.

According to the space agency, NASA’s Orion spacecraft is built to take humans farther than they’ve ever gone before. The craft will serve as an exploration vehicle that carries a crew to space and sustain them during their space travel. The spacecraft is designed to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere safely and land by using a system of 11 parachutes.

The Orion capsule was airdropped Dec. 15 with the planned failure of some of the chutes to test aerodynamic stresses on the remaining Orion parachutes. 

Aircrew members assigned to the 418th Flight Test Squadron included Lt. Col. Zachary Schaffer, Maj. Daniel Edelstein, Capt. Eric Michael, Senior Master Sgt. Michael Gordon, Staff Sgt. Kermit Maronge, Staff Sgt. Leah Starkes, Staff Sgt. Vanessa Jordan, Jacob St. Germain, Dean Van Oosterhout, Christian Turner and Christopher Okula.

Read more about the Orion parachute tests here.

- Christopher A. Okula contributed to this article

The Orion spacecraft Capsule Parachute Assembly System team pose for a photo before the mockup spacecraft is loaded onto a C-17 Globemaster III, Dec. 11, in Yuma, Arizona. (U.S. Air Force photo by Christopher A. Okula)
The Orion spacecraft Capsule Parachute Assembly System team pose for a photo before the mockup spacecraft is loaded onto a C-17 Globemaster III, Dec. 11, in Yuma, Arizona. (U.S. Air Force photo by Christopher A. Okula)
The Orion spacecraft Capsule Parachute Assembly System team pose for a photo before the mockup spacecraft is loaded onto a C-17 Globemaster III, Dec. 11, in Yuma, Arizona. (U.S. Air Force photo by Christopher A. Okula) 418th FLTS supports NASA in Orion spacecraft parachute test
The Orion spacecraft Capsule Parachute Assembly System team pose for a photo before the mockup spacecraft is loaded onto a C-17 Globemaster III, Dec. 11, in Yuma, Arizona. (U.S. Air Force photo by Christopher A. Okula)