The Orion, which is designed to carry astronauts beyond Earth orbit, is scheduled to make an unmanned test flight aboard a Delta IV Heavy rocket in December.
Another navy ship, the USNS Salvor, assisted in the test, lowering the capsule into the Pacific Ocean off Southern California while the Anchorage positioned itself to recover the module, accounting for sea state, winds, and other environmental factors.
Inflatable boats were then used to tow the Orion into the Anchorage’s well deck, from which landing craft are normally launched.
“We have a good understanding of the challenges we have ahead of us,” said Jeremy Graeber, NASA’s Recovery Director. “We demonstrated how we would recover from a certain point of the timeline, executed the recovery, and got the module into the well deck safely. We were focusing on putting ourselves into a realistic recovery.”