NASA, Lockheed Martin, and the U.S. Air Force have resumed preparations for the Orion Ascent Abort-2 (AA-2) test after the five-week long government shutdown disrupted work. The AA-2 test will collect data on the performance of Orion’s Launch Abort System (LAS) by initiating an abort at a high-stress point during ascent.
Major pieces of flight test hardware were about to be shipped or were being delivered to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida and the adjoining Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) launch site when the shutdown closed several federal agencies including NASA. Although some work was able to be restarted before the shutdown ended, it is expected that the launch date for the test will be delayed a couple of weeks into mid-May.
Flight test hardware at the launch site
All the hardware for the three-minute long test has arrived at launch site, with a couple of exceptions. “Today I can tell you everything is there, other than there are these structural pieces, the ogives, the launch abort system ogives,” Mark Kirasich, NASA Orion Program Manager, said in an interview. “The other two [pieces] are coming momentarily and that was planned anyway.”
The Orion LAS is designed to ...