Testing of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle’s landing parachutes continued April 17 with a successful drop test at the U.S. Army’s Yuma Proving Grounds in Arizona.

During the Orion program’s second drop test of 2012, a C-130 plane dropped a dart-shaped test vehicle with a simulated Orion parachute compartment from an altitude of 7,600 meters to see how Orion’s parachute system would perform if one of the three main parachutes inflated too quickly.

NASA also wanted to validate Orion’s drogue parachute design by testing at a high dynamic pressure mimicking the environments Orion is expected to encounter in 2014 when it launches 4,800 kilometers into space atop a United Launch Alliance Delta 4 rocket. The launch, dubbed Exploration Flight Test-1, is designed to test a number of Orion systems, including avionics, navigation and thermal protection systems.