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Final NASA Orion Capsule Parachute Test Held at Yuma Proving Ground

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NASA / Rad Sinyak
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Orion team prepares the parachute test vehicle for the final drop test at the Yuma Proving Ground which will qualify Orion's parachutes for human flight.

The Orion Capsule parachute system held the final of eight qualification tests on Wednesday morning. The tests were held at the Yuma Proving Ground as the capsule will eventually be used to bring astronauts safely back to earth from deep-space exploration.

During the final test, a mock Orion was pulled from the cargo bay of a C-17 aircraft flying more than 6.5 miles up in the air.

Officials including astronaut Randy Bresnik say the facilities at YPG are favorable and they have been able to perform the tests in various conditions.

"There's not that many places in the country where you have the wide expanses of land available with the corresponding airpsace above us to go up tens of thousands of feet to drop something and have it land in the landing space you want," Bresnik told KAWC. "That's why Yuma is so vital to these tests."

Every test is meticulously planned out, said Mark Kirasich, the NASA Orion Program Manager.

"All these years of really hard work come together and have us demonstrate, first to the program and the people that fly on the spacecraft that the team's done a really great job preparing the system for flight," Kirasich said.

The test was broadcast live on NASA TV.