The US navy is planning for the Exploration Flight Test -1 (EFT-1) Orion’s splashdown. It is reported that the first of the three contracted Orion returns will see participation from the USS Anchorage and the USNS Salvor. All the three Orion returns will take place over the next 10 years.
All the major reviews of the EFT-1 mission have been passed now, including the United Launch Alliance EFT-1 Program Management Readiness Review and Lockheed Martin EFT-1 Readiness Review. Passing these reviews confirms that three open items from an earlier Test Flight Readiness Review (TFRR) are no longer a problem.
The Launch Readiness Review (LRR) will be the next important meeting and will be conducted just before the launch day. The launch day is coming near on the East Coast and US navy is setting up to play its part on the West Coast.
Orion recovery exercises are going on at the Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia and the Navy Base San Diego in California. A Landing Platform-Dock (LPD) ship will be used by the Navy which will replace the Aircraft Carrier that were used as the base of recovery operations during the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo era.
The United States Navy will give splashdown recovery support to NASA’s Orion spacecraft with the crewed Exploration Mission-2 (EM-2), under an agreement. The data collected from the mission will be used for estimating parachute deployments and debris patterns before the manned launch.
US Navy divers will use Zodiac boats to monitor any danger around Orion, once it strikes the water. A sea anchor, load-distributing collar and tether lines will be connected to the crew module after that and the divers will work to direct it to the ship’s well deck. The ship will then float back to the shore.