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NASA sets 12 June start date for Orion test



NASA will test the launch abatement system of their new Orion Capsule and Space Launch System crew on June 12, marking the second escape test for the agency's next crewed spacecraft.

"The test shows Orion's launch abort system A crew can be taken to safety during the launch in emergencies," wrote the NASA representative in a Twitter update on Wednesday (February 20) ,

Ascent Abort-2, the upcoming unpaved test will be launched from a Cape Canaveral Air Station base in Florida and will take less than 3 minutes. When Orion reaches 9,448 meters approximately 55 seconds after taking off, the demolition rocket engine mounted on the tower rips the Orion space capsule out of its intensifier to simulate an emergency escape.

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An artist illustration of the NASA Orion Space Capsule Abort 2 Test launch. NASA launches the test flight on 1

2 June from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

(Image: © NASA)

The demolition maneuver spins the Orion capsule 3 miles in just 15 seconds. according to a NASA video description. At 44,000 feet (13,411 m), a discharge motor will tear the demolition tower off the Orion capsule. However, NASA does not plan to rescue the capsule itself.

Instead, the Orion capsule will drop its flight data recorder overboard so a NASA recovery team can retrieve it later. The capsule itself will plunge into the Atlantic, as it is not equipped with parachutes that would slow down a typical Orion landing for blasting off.

As the name suggests, Abort Ascent-2 is Orion's second abort system test. The first named Pad Abort-1 was launched in May 2010 at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico to demonstrate an escape from the launch pad.

Orion is due to launch on the new mega-socket of the NASA Space Launch System, which is currently under development. The first unrestrained SLS launch called Exploration Mission 1 is scheduled for mid-2020. The first occupation mission Orion (Exploration Mission 2) should follow in the middle of 2022.

E-mail Tariq Malik at tmalik@space.com or follow him @tariqjmalik . Follow us @SpaceTotcom and Facebook .


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