Following Orbital ATK successful test-firing of an Orion launch abort system (LAS) abort motor at their Promontory facility in Utah on June 15, two more qualification tests will be required before the vital crew safety element is officially ready to fly with crewed Space Launch System (SLS) missions, beginning with Exploration Mission -2 (EM-2) mission in the early 2020s.
The solid propellant rocket motor is designed to quickly pull the Orion spacecraft’s crew module (CM) away from its launch vehicle in an emergency, either on the launch pad or during the early part of launch.
The June 15 quick, five-second ground firing, called Qualification Motor-1 (QM-1), tested changes to the motor’s reduced thrust profile and used a special test configuration to collect additional acoustic data.
The abort motor was fired in the T-93 test facility at Promontory, with the test occurring on-time at 1 pm Mountain Daylight Time on June 15.
Abort motors are configured in a vertical, upside-down orientation for ground tests at Promontory. As the designation indicates, QM-1 was the first qualification test of the abort motor using a design that is largely expected to be the one used for crewed Orion flights beginning with ...