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A close look at NASA’s Orion spacecraft after its parachute test

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Loren Grush

On Wednesday, NASA dropped a test version of its Orion spacecraft out of a military transport aircraft flying over the Arizona desert. During the fall, two of the capsule's parachutes were intentionally made to fail. It was a test to see if the Orion could still land gently when its systems malfunction — and it seems the vehicle passed.

NASA invited The Verge along to the Yuma Proving Ground, where this "drop test" took place. On Tuesday, we toured the C-17 aircraft that carried the Orion up to 35,000 feet. The next day we witnessed the spacecraft fall through the sky, before touching down on the desert surface.

Check out the experience in the pictures below.

NASA parachute drop test


A Boeing C-17 Globemaster III — the type of plane that took the Orion spacecraft up to 35,000 feet.