NASA's Orion Programme Has a Real Sense of Deja Vu

By Attila Nagy on at

When we see new images showing how NASA is moving ahead with their Orion Programme there is often a Project Apollo feeling, because of the similarities between the two US space missions. This new photo gives us such dejà vu too.

What can we see in the photo above? NASA explains:

“When astronauts come back to Earth in Orion following the first crewed flight, they will have been away for long periods of time, so we want to be prepared to get them out of the spacecraft quickly in a variety of scenarios,” said Tom Walker, rescue and recovery lead for Orion. “The work we’re doing this week allows us to test out crew egress procedures using a mockup of Orion in the water.”

The buoyancy lab, NASA’s 6.2 million gallon pool that is primarily used to train astronauts underwater for spacewalks, provides a controlled environment where recovery personnel can practice techniques to assist people getting out of a test version of the crew module. During the three-day testing, personnel are simulating arriving to a spacecraft floating in the Pacific Ocean and what it will take to assist the crew as they exit. They will also evaluate the layout of equipment inside the spacecraft that affects exit and the gear used during the recovery process.

So this happened a few days ago:

Space History Repeats Itself

(October 7, 2015) – At NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL) at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, teams are performing a series of tests Oct. 6-8 to evaluate the most efficient way for astronauts to get out of the spacecraft after weeks or months away from Earth. (Radislav Sinyak/NASA)

And these photos were taken a few decades ago:

Space History Repeats Itself

(June 1966)– Prime crew members for the first manned Apollo 1 space flight practice water egress procedures in a swimming pool at Ellington Air Force Base (EAFB), Houston, Texas. Astronaut Edward H. White II rides life raft in the foreground. Astronaut Roger B. Chaffee sits in hatch of the boilerplate model of the spacecraft. Astronaut Virgil I. Grissom, third member of the crew, waits inside the spacecraft. (NASA)

Space History Repeats Itself

(August 1968) – Three astronauts participate in Apollo water egress training in a tank in Building 260 at the Manned Spacecraft Center. Already in life raft is John W. Young. Eugene A. Cernan is egressing the Apollo Command Module trainer. Inside the trainer and almost obscured is Thomas P. Stafford. (NASA)

Space History Repeats Itself

(December 10, 1968)
Water egress training for the Apollo 9 crew McDivitt, Scott and Schweickart in the Bldg. #260 water immersion test facility. (NASA)

Top photo: Radislav Sinyak/NASA