USS Anchorage to retrieve Orion capsule at sea

  • Wednesday, December 3, 2014 8:42pm
  • News

ANCHORAGE (AP) — When NASA’s new state-of-the-art space capsule returns from its first orbit of the Earth, a Navy ship carrying the name of Alaska’s largest city will be there to pluck it out of the ocean.

The USS Anchorage, a San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship, left San Diego on Monday for the retrieval mission, the Navy said in a release.

Orion will be launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Thursday morning on an unmanned orbital test flight.

The inaugural Orion will carry no crew during the 4 1/2-hour test flight and be confined to Earth’s orbit. But it will aim for a high point of 3,600 miles on the second loop of the planet, setting the spacecraft up for a 20,000-mph, 4,000-degree re-entry. Splashdown will occur in the Pacific, 600 miles southwest of San Diego.

A specially-trained bridge crew will be on the USS Anchorage for the mission, and the Navy says divers will be in small boats to get close to the capsule once it splashes down. Divers plan to rig tending lines to guide the capsule back to the larger ship.

“It is a very complex, highly-integrated team of Navy divers, meteorologists, flight crews, the well-deck personnel and the bridge watch standers on Anchorage,” Lt. Keith Tate, operations officer, said in a statement. “All of this will hopefully culminate with the historic capsule recovery, which is something the Navy hasn’t been involved with for almost 40 years.”

Crewmembers on the USS Anchorage have been training for the mission for several months.

NASA will track Orion and guide the USS Anchorage to the recovery point then the sailors bringing the capsule back onto the ship. Once it has been secured, the Navy said a team from Lockheed Martin will download data off Orion.

“All of us who have been here since the beginning are excited to see this day come,” Tate said. “We’re hoping for a safe, successful evolution. It’s something historic and we’re all proud to be a part of it.”

The USS Anchorage was commissioned in May 2013 during a ceremony in its namesake city.

More in News

Raymond Bradbury preserves his salmon while dipnetting in the mouth of the Kenai River on Saturday, July 10, 2021. (Camille Botello / Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai River dipnetting closed; Kasilof to close Sunday

The Kasilof River dipnet fishery is reportedly slow, but fish are being caught

Silver salmon hang in the Seward Boat Harbor during the 2018 Seward Silver Salmon Derby. (Photo courtesy of Seward Chamber of Commerce)
Seward Silver Salmon derby runs Aug. 13-21

Last year’s derby featured 1,800 contestants competing across eight days

Rayna Reynolds tends to her cow at the 4-H Agriculture Expo in Soldotna, Alaska on Aug. 5, 2022. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Animals take the stage at 4-H expo

Contestants were judged on the quality of the animal or showmanship of the handler

Emily Matthews and Andy Kowalczyk pose outside the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies headquarters on Friday, July 29, 2022, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Charlie Menke/Homer News)
AmeriCorps volunteers aid Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies

The 10-month commitment pushed them outside of comfort zones

People gather in Ninilchik, Alaska, on Friday, Aug. 5, 2022, for Salmonfest, an annual event that raises awareness about salmon-related causes. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
All about the salmon

Fish, love and music return to Ninilchik

Alaska State Veterinarian Dr. Bob Gerlach gives a presentation on Avian Influenza Virus at the 4-H Agriculture Expo in Soldotna, Alaska, on Aug. 5, 2022. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
State looks to outreach, education amid bird flu outbreak

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza is spreading in Alaska

Fencing surrounds the 4th Avenue Theatre in Anchorage, Alaska, on Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022. Demolition will begin in August 2022 on the once-opulent downtown Anchorage movie theater designed by the architect of Hollywood’s famed Pantages Theatre. The 4th Avenue Theatre with nearly 1,000 seats opened in 1947, and it withstood the second most powerful earthquake ever recorded. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)
Efforts fail to save historic Anchorage theater from demolition

Anchorage entrepreneur Austin “Cap” Lathrop opened the 4th Avenue Theatre, with nearly 1,000 seats, on May 31, 1947

Mimi Israelah, center, cheers for Donald Trump inside the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage, Alaska, during a rally Saturday July 9, 2022. Two Anchorage police officers violated department policy during a traffic stop last month when Israelah, in town for a rally by former President Donald Trump showed a “white privilege card” instead of a driver’s license and was not ticketed. (Bill Roth/Anchorage Daily News via AP, File)
Alaska officers violated policy in ‘white privilege’ stop

The top of the novelty card reads: “White Privilege Card Trumps Everything.”

Ashlyn O’Hara / Peninsula Clarion file 
Alaska LNG Project Manager Brad Chastain presents information about the project during a luncheon at the Kenai Chamber Commerce and Visitor Center on July 6.
Local leaders voice support for LNG project

Local municipalities are making their support for the Alaska LNG Project known

Most Read