SAN DIEGO – After completing a series of recovery tests for the crewed Artemis II Mission splashdown off of our San Diego Coast, FOX 5 got a firsthand look at the new test version of NASA’s Orion Spacecraft at Naval Base San Diego.

On Tuesday, crews completed their mission, marking the very first recovery test of an actual manned crew aboard a test version of the Orion Capsule.

In this test, the team staged how they will extract the four astronauts, including the first woman and person of color to land on the moon after landing in the Pacific Ocean.

We have never done crew training…and have never been able to test it,” shared Lili Villarreal, who is the director of NASA Landing and Recovery.

That is, until now.

Four sailors acted as “stand-ins” this week to help simulate just how to recover the crew following their nine-to-ten-day journey up, up, and away, all part of the first moon voyage in 52 years. A voyage coming to an end 30 nautical miles away from America’s Finest City.

“There are a million fingerprints all over the success of this mission,” shared Captain Doug Langenberg who is the Commanding Officer of the USS John P. Murtha. “It is really neat to see this here in San Diego, just as I got excited being a part of this mission, San Diego I hope is excited to be so close to this history-making event.”

History takes a village.

Captain Langenberg is the commanding officer of the USS John P. Murtha amphibious transport dock where NASA, the U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force were all put to the test last week.

It was a race against time, using a mix of boats, helicopters and divers to recover the crew and capsule back aboard the flight deck within a two-hour time span.

The Artemis II flight will set the stage for space exploration, testing the bounds of human deep space exploration, the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft for the first time.

“Being a part of this mission since the inception of NASA, Mercury, Gemini, Apollo…and all the programs…is absolutely amazing and I know the team is super excited. It’s very much a joint effort,” shared David Mehan, who is the director of operations for First Air Force Detachment 3.

NASA did hint Wednesday the next recovery test at Naval Base San Diego will no longer have stand-ins, but rather the four astronauts of the Artemis II Mission, gearing up for the official launch date next year.