In what might be seen as a return to the heady days of NASA’s Apollo moon program, the US Navy is relearning the skills necessary to recover spacecraft from the ocean.
In the 1960s and 1970s, NASA’s Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and Skylab space launches all used reentry capsules that landed in the ocean and were recovered by warships. By the end of this decade, the Orion launch system will, once again, return to this tried and tested technique.
The San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS John P Murtha was, in late-2018, deployed off southern California for what has been dubbed Underway Recovery Test, or URT. The nature of the tests involve the recovery from the ocean of what is known as a boiler Plate Test Article, BTA, essentially a replica Orion spacecraft.
The first launch into space of a complete, but unmanned, Orion spacecraft will take place when Exploration Mission 1 (EM-1) blasts off from Cape Canaveral in December 2019.
The frigate was returning home following its participation in the NATO Trident Juncture exercise when the incident occurred while docked in Sture, north of Bergen. Eight crew members were injured and two taken to hospital.
The frigate took on a large list as water rushed in, before it was intentionally grounded to prevent it sinking completely. Sadly, despite having heavy hawsers and anchors planted ashore, the frigate subsequently slipped back into deeper water and sank until only the mast and part of her flight deck was above water.
_The Indian Government signed a US$950 million contract with Russia’s United Shipbuilding Corporation for the delivery of a pair of upgraded Krivak III class stealth frigates to the Indian Navy.
The deal comes in the face of strong opposition from the United States who has imposed strong sanctions against Russian military sales. The Indians and Russians have undertaken a rupee-rouble transaction to circumvent the sanctions imposed under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CATSA).
The two frigates will be built at Yantar Shipyard and delivered towards the end of 2022.
The midlife overhaul was undertaken by the Naval Group and is aimed at allowing the carrier to continue in service until at least 2038.
During the refit work was undertaken on the combat system, aircraft maintenance facilities, a new longerrange 3D radar and her deck landing systems were modifi ed to an ‘all Rafale’ configuration following the withdrawal from service of the Super Etendard aircraft.