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Photos: Orion Space Capsule's Parachute Test

Loading Operations for Orion Spacecraft Parachute Test

NASA

A test version of the Orion spacecraft is loaded onto a C-17 aircraft in preparation for the 10th in a series of evaluations of its parachute system. During the test on July 24, 2013, the mock capsule was dropped from a C-17 aircraft at its highest altitude yet, 35,000 feet above the Arizona desert. One of three massive main parachutes was cut away early on purpose, leaving the spacecraft to land with only two. The test at the U.S. Army's Yuma Proving Ground was the highest-altitude test of a human spacecraft parachute since NASA's Apollo Program.

Orion Capsule Drop Test Google+ Hangout

NASA TV

The hosts of the Orion capsule drop test Google+ Hangout give preliminary information at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, July 24, 2013.

Orion Capsule Drop Test in Progress

NASA TV

The Orion capsule falls to Earth with parachutes deployed at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, on July 24, 2013.

Orion Capsule Approaching Ground

NASA TV

The Orion capsule falls closer to the ground with parachutes deployed at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, on July 24, 2013.

Orion Test Capsule About to Touch Down

NASA TV

The Orion capsule is about to touch down after a drop test at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, on July 24, 2013.

Orion Capsule Drop Test Post-Landing

NASA TV

The Orion capsule touched down after a drop test at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, on July 24, 2013.

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Tom Chao
Tom Chao has contributed to SPACE.com as a producer and writer since 2000. As a writer and editor, he has worked for the Voyager Company, Time Inc. New Media, HarperCollins and Worth Publishers. He has a bachelor’s degree in Cinema Production from the University of Southern California, and a master’s degree from NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Tom on Google+.