NASA recently released a video capturing Orion’s flaming entrance into Earth’s atmosphere. The video capturing the capsule’s entry into terrestrial atmosphere has just recently been made public. It shows how the Orion pierces the layer of gases, traveling with a speed of 32,187 kilometers per hour during a mission carried out on Dec. 5.
In order to obtain as much information as possible, NASA suited Orion with 1,200 sensors on the inside of the cabin but also throughout the spacecraft. All the images were captured during the unmanned Exploration Flight Test 1 (EFT-1) mission by a camera installed on the inner wall of the spacecraft. It was positioned in such a way that it could record as if it were staring out the window.
The recorder was the first component after Orion’s safe landing to be removed and examined by NASA’s team. The camera recorded amazing footage, providing information regarding the total pressure and heat that a spacecraft had to endure during this 4.5 hour flight test
During the mission, the craft orbited twice around the Earth, reaching a high altitude point of 3,604 miles, passing though the lower Van Allen belt. The last part of the video showed the Orion’s entry into the atmosphere, reaching a speed of 20,000 miles per hour and a temperature of 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The gentle landing was assured by an eleven-parachute deployment landing system.
The recording contains important information that explains how increasing friction causes a spike in temperature levels thus causing the dense air layer surrounding the spacecraft to turn to plasma, its colors alternating from white to yellow, finally turning purple.
Scientists came up with a heat shield to protect the crew members joining the Orion against high temperatures. A material was used, with the purpose of absorbing the built up heat, eventually burning, thus eliminating the heat produced due to friction. The process is known as ablation.
The Orion was created for possible space travel. Researchers are aiming towards Mars or asteroids situated in Earth’s close vicinity. The cabin was designed for a maximum of four astronauts. This test flight was conducted without crew members, in order to obtain more information regarding the conditions they would have to face.
This is the first time in over 40 years that a spacecraft designed to carry astronauts traveled such a distance.
Regarding this experience, NASA team made the following statement:
“It was all right there before your eyes just as it happened on Orion and how future astronauts will see it when they return from deep space missions and one day coming home from Mars.”
Image Source: TechnoBuffalo