NASA will test a critical Orion spacecraft security item on Tuesday, July 2, to launch the module on the back of a Northrop Grumman Booster. The Ascent Abort 2 Test (AA-2) is an important step in. It is designed to validate Orion's Emergency Demolition system under high-stress aerodynamic conditions.
The Orion Crew Module undergoes a full stress test on its Launch Abort System (LAS), a series of three engines designed to bring the module to safety should anything go wrong with astronauts aboard during a rocket launch , It will be a no-screw test designed to repeat a real launch, but it will not launch on the Space Launch System (SLS), the next-generation NASA rocket.
Instead, a booster provided by Northrop Grumman is attached to the underside of the payload fairing in the form of an upturned golf tee. The crew module rests in the tee and once the fairing is dropped it quickly accelerates away from the rocket booster and achieves a performance of 31,000 feet at about 1,000 miles per hour. If it safely gets off the rocket, the golf tee capsule throws out the crew module and the test is over.
NASA says this is "the only way to test a fully active LAS during ascent before crew flying," highlighting the importance of mission for future space exploration.