Orbital – Orion Launch Abort System

Pad Abort 1 Test Successful

NASA successfully tested the Launch Abort System developed for the Orion crew exploration vehicle on May 6, 2010. The 97-second flight test, dubbed Pad Abort 1 test (PA1), was the first fully integrated test of the Launch Abort System developed for Orion. The test took place at the U.S. Army’s White Sands Missile Range near Las Cruces, N.M.

Photos of the test by Frank Culbertson, Orbital’s Senior Vice President and Deputy General Manager of Human Space Programs

Pad Abort 1 Test Successful Pad Abort 1 Test Successful Pad Abort 1 Test Successful
Pad Abort 1 Test Successful Pad Abort 1 Test Successful Pad Abort 1 Test Successful

Orbital was a key member of the Lockheed Martin-led team that has been selected to build the Orion crew exploration vehicle (CEV). The LAS design, was using Orbital’s proven small rocket technology, is a key element in vastly improving the safety of the flight crew as compared to current human space systems.

Orbital was responsible for the design, development and build of the Launch Abort System (LAS) tower. The LAS components consist of the abort, jettison and attitude control motors, structures, ordnance and harnesses, and will provide escape capabilty for the Orion crew from pad operations through ascent.

Orbital managed the Orion LAS at its Dulles, VA campus and at the facilities of its propulsion subcontractors, Aerojet and Alliant Techsystems.

Program Accomplishments:

03/27/08 Successful Aerojet Jettison Motor Static Test 1
March-June 2008 Successful Structural Load Testing
04/02/08 LAS Hardware Begins to Arrive at Orbital Dulles, VA Campus
06/13/08 Successful ATK Abort Motor Igniter Testing
07/16/08 Successful Aerojet Jettison Motor Static Test 2
11/20/08 Successful ATK Abort Motor Static Test 1
12/10/08 Successful PA-1 Modal Test
Jan-March 2009 Successful Ground Testing of ATK’s Attitude Control Motor
April 2009 Successful Non Propulsive Hardware Review
May 2009 LAS Hardware Ships to New Mexico
May 6, 2010 Pa-1 Test

Links to PA-1 and Orion sites

NASA Constellation Pad Abort Test -1 News (includes video of the launch)
Aerojet Launch Abort System Web Page
ATK Launch Abort System Web Page

Links to Twitter and Facebook Pages:

PA-1 Twitter Page
Orion Facebook Page

Link to the PA-1 Animation:

NASA Pad Abort Animation

Link to NASA Photo Galleries:

NASA Pad Abort-1 Image Gallery
NASA/Dryden Pad Abort Test-1 Image Gallery

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