NASA completes Orion spacecraft motor test

April 16, 2008 at 10:04 AM
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WASHINGTON, April 16 (UPI) -- The U.S. space agency announced completion of the first full-scale rocket motor test for the Constellation Program's Orion spacecraft.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration test involved a solid rocket that will be used to jettison the spacecraft's launch abort system.

Orion, now under development, will be America's next human spacecraft, designed to fly to the International Space Station and be part of a space flight system to return people to the moon.

The Orion jettison motor will separate the craft's launch abort system from the Orion crew module during launch, providing a safe escape for the crew in an emergency, officials said.

"This was a major success for the Orion launch abort system team," said Mark Cooper, NASA's integrated product team leader for launch abort system propulsion. "The test provided valuable data on motor performance that will allow design and analytical refinements by our contractor team."

The jettison motor static test firing was conducted by the Aerojet Corp. in Sacramento.

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