NASA Preps Last Abort Test for Orion Spacecraft

Jeff Brody

NASA completed setting up the test vehicle for the demonstration of the abort system of its Orion spacecraft. The space agency will assess the system’s performance on July 2 at Cape Canaveral in Florida,, reported Friday. The Ascent Abort-2 test will be the second and last for the Launch Abort System on the Lockheed Martin-built Orion spacecraft. NASA delivered the system's test booster to the launch pad in April, followed by the test article and the Orion Crew Module in May. 

During the demonstration, the test article will transmit data to ground stations in real time, while onboard data recorders will be ejected from the Crew Module before the system falls into the Atlantic Ocean. Mark Kirasich, NASA’s Orion program manager, said the module will carry a tool that senses the acceleration of the abort system along with a separate component connected to an avionics box called the Attitude Control Motor Controller. 

“The computer in the Crew Module tells us which way to steer and then it’s the ACM controller which controls the pintles and the thrust of the pintles and steers it,” he said. 

NASA first conducted tests of Orion’s abort system in 2010. The agency plans to use the production version of LAS in Orion’s first planned crewed mission in 2023. 

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