NASA will soon test Orion’s ability to escape from an exploding rocket

  • Orion and its solid rocket on the launch pad Monday morning at
    Cape Canaveral Air Force Base. [credit: Trevor Mahlmann ]

Nearly five years have passed since NASA
first launched
its Orion spacecraft to an apogee of 5,800km
above the Earth, completing a successful test flight of the capsule
intended to carry astronauts to lunar orbit in the 2020s.

Now, NASA is preparing for its second Orion launch, although
this flight will be considerably shorter. On Tuesday morning, NASA
intends to launch a
boilerplate version
of Orion—essentially a well instrumented
vehicle without any life-support equipment or many other critical
systems—on top of a solid rocket booster built by Northrop
Grumman.

The rocket is actually an old Peacemaker intercontinental
ballistic missile, now refurbished for commercial purposes. It will
launch the Orion to an altitude of nearly 9.5km above the Florida
coast in order to test Orion’s launch abort system at the point
of maximum dynamic pressure. This will occur about 55 seconds after
launch.

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Source: FS – All – Science – News
NASA will soon test Orion’s ability to escape from an exploding rocket