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NASA Orion Launch Abort Test July 2 (Tuesday). Pre-launch Briefing July 1 (Monday)

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posted on Jul, 1 2019 @ 10:14 AM
There will be a pre-launch briefing today, July 1, at 11:30 AM US EDT (15:30 UTC) for NASA's test of the Orion abort system. The unmanned test launch will be tomorrow July 2, at 7:00 AM EDT (11:00 UTC), with a four-hour launch window. Coverage on Tuesday begins at 6:40 AM EDT.

This is a test of the launch abort system, which is a set of rockets on a tower placed at the top of the Orion capsule. The intent of this system is that in case of an emergency during the launch process -- such as if the rocket begins to break up, or some other catastrophic issue -- the launch abort engines would ignite and pull the capsule. In practice, the finished rocket will have sensors that would be able to identify if the rocket were breaking up and automatically engage the abort system.

blurb about tomorrow's test:

Ascent Abort-2 will verify Orion’s abort system can pull the crew module away from an emergency during its ascent to space. During approximately three minutes of flight, a booster will loft the test capsule about six miles into the atmosphere to experience high-stress aerodynamic conditions, at which point the abort sequence will be triggered to carry the crew module a safe distance from the rocket. The test flight will help ensure the safety of astronauts in the unlikely event an emergency arises as they rocket into space.

Where to watch the July 1 pre-launch conference


NASA also will host a test preview news conference at 11:30 a.m. Monday, July 1, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Participants include:

Mark Kirasich, Orion program manager
Jenny Devolites, Ascent Abort-2 test conductor
Randy Bresnik, NASA astronaut

By the way, a similar concept for lauch abort was used on the Apollo missions. That's what that little tower was for that was sitting at the very top of the rocket.

Interestingly enough, for the second unmanned test of this abort system for the Apollo program back in the 1960s, the actual rocket that was to launch the capsule high enough for this test FAILED.

That is, something went wrong, and the rocket began to break up. However, the launch abort worked just like it should, and it pulled the capsule safely away from the unexpected exploding rocket beneath it.

Apollo Launch Abort test "Little Joe", 1965:

edit on 7/1/2019 by Soylent Green Is People because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 1 2019 @ 01:22 PM
One interesting tidbit that came out of the pre-launch briefing was that there will be no parachute on the Orion capsule (or the stand-in for the capsule) during this test.

Normally if this abort procedure was ever required during an operational launch, after the emergency abort system pulls the capsule away, the systems attitude control engines would orient the capsule right side up (albeit after flipping it nearly 360 degrees) and then the abort engine tower would eject itself from the capsule, and the capsule would freefall until the parachutes deployed, eventually splashing down gently in the ocean as it would for a normal return.

However, in this case they decide to go without a parachute because they wanted to get this abort test in early. I suppose if they also needed to provide a chute, the planned date for the test would be later. For similar reasons, the stand-in for the Orion capsule (which is sized, weighted, and balanced just like the real thing) has no attitude adjustment engines.

So after the abort test is complete and the abort tower disengages and flies off, the capsule itself will likely begin to tumble due to having no attitude control, fall at almost 300 mph because it has no chutes, and crash land into the Atlantic ocean, where it is expected break apart on impact and sink.

Hopefully they will film it all the way down. That should be fun to watch.

edit on 7/1/2019 by Soylent Green Is People because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 2 2019 @ 05:43 AM
The Launch is scheduled for today at 7:00 AM EDT (11:00 UTC). Everything at this point is still a go.

It will look something like this:

Coverage has begun on NASA TV Where to watch:


edit on 7/2/2019 by Soylent Green Is People because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 5 2019 @ 09:31 AM

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