Orion's 'Picture Perfect' Splashdown Marks New Era in Spaceflight
NASA celebrates a successful test of its capsule designed to carry astronauts into deep space.
NASA's newest spacecraft successfully splashed down on Friday, opening a new era in deep-space exploration.
Unmanned for this test flight, the Orion space capsule successfully splashed down in the Pacific Ocean at 11:29 a.m. EST, after a 20,000 mile per hour (32,000 kilometer per hour) plunge through the atmosphere.
"A picture-perfect splashdown," said NASA's Amber Philman, from a ship some 630 miles (1,014 kilometers) southwest of San Diego that is recovering the floating capsule.
"This is NASA, very slowly, on its way to deep space again," said space policy expert John Logsdon of George Washington University in Washington, D.C. The next test of the space capsule comes in 2018, with another unmanned mission that will take the capsule into orbit