NASA will perform an in-flight test of the Launch Abort System (LAS) for its Orion crewed spacecraft Tuesday morning from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) in Florida. A highly instrumented test article simulating the Orion Crew Module is connected to a flight version of the LAS and a Peacekeeper missile modified to be the booster for the Ascent Abort-2 (AA-2) test.
Lasting only three minutes from liftoff to ocean impact, the purpose of the atmospheric test is to demonstrate the production LAS and to collect detailed data on its performance. The LAS is designed to instantly pull the crew module away from its launch vehicle in extreme emergency situations that might occur before or during launch.
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The key sequence in the short flight is an even shorter period of twenty seconds or so where the LAS pulls the Crew Module simulator away from a firing solid rocket motor.
The LAS is designed to quickly separate a crew in Orion in a launch emergency, get them as far away from the emergency as safely possible, and allow the Orion Crew Module to parachute into the ocean.
Ascent Abort-2 (AA-2) intentionally ...