NASA To Test Motor For Orion Crew Capsule's Launch Abort System


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PROMONTORY, Utah -- NASA and ATK will conduct the first full-scale test fire of the motor for a new launch abort system at 1 p.m. MST, Nov. 20, at the ATK Launch Systems facility in Promontory, Utah. The launch abort system will increase crew safety for NASA's Constellation Program, which is building the next-generation spacecraft to carry astronauts to the International Space Station by 2015 and the moon by 2020.

Reporters who are U.S. citizens will be able to observe the test. Media passes are required. Reporters should R.S.V.P. no later than Wednesday, Nov. 19, with Lynnette Madison or Josh Byerly at 281-483-5111 or Trina Patterson at 801-251-3517 or 801-699-0943. Journalists who are not U.S. citizens should contact Patterson by Nov. 13 for more information and to obtain clearances.

The launch abort system will sit atop the Orion crew exploration vehicle. The abort motor is designed to pull the crew module away from the Ares I launch vehicle in an emergency situation on the launch pad or during the first 300,000 feet after launch.

This is the first time such a test has been conducted since the Apollo Program tested its launch escape system in the 1960s. The demonstration is the culmination of a series of motor and component tests conducted earlier this year in preparation for a test with a mock-up of the Orion crew capsule scheduled for the spring of 2009.

NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., manages the Orion launch abort system. ATK is responsible for the launch abort motor under contract to Orbital Sciences Corporation of Dulles, Va. Orbital is building the entire launch abort system for the Orion crew exploration vehicle. Lockheed Martin Corporation of Denver is the prime contractor for Orion.

For more information about the Orion crew capsule and the Constellation Program, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/orion

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