NASA successfully tested the Launch Abort System developed for the Orion crew exploration vehicle on May 6, 2010. The 97-second flight test, dubbed Pad Abort 1 test (PA1), was the first fully integrated test of the Launch Abort System developed for Orion. The test took place at the U.S. Army’s White Sands Missile Range near Las Cruces, N.M.
Photos of the test by Frank Culbertson, Orbital's Senior Vice President and Deputy General Manager of Human Space Programs
Orbital was a key member of the Lockheed Martin-led team that has been selected to build the Orion crew exploration vehicle (CEV). The LAS design, using Orbital's proven small rocket technology, is a key element in vastly improving the safety of the flight crew as compared to current human space systems.
Orbital was responsible for the design, development and build of the Launch Abort System (LAS) tower. The LAS components consist of the abort, jettison and attitude control motors, structures, ordnance and harnesses, and will provide escape capabilty for the Orion crew from pad operations through ascent.
Orbital managed the Orion LAS at its Dulles, VA campus and at the facilities of its propulsion subcontractors, Aerojet and Alliant Techsystems.
Successful Aerojet Jettison Motor Static Test 1
Successful Structural Load Testing
LAS Hardware Begins to Arrive at Orbital Dulles, VA Campus
Successful ATK Abort Motor Igniter Testing
Successful Aerojet Jettison Motor Static Test 2
Successful ATK Abort Motor Static Test 1
Successful PA-1 Modal Test
Successful Ground Testing of ATK's Attitude Control Motor