May 5, 2017 – Engineers at Orbital ATK’s facility in Elkton, Maryland, recently completed a successful test of the Orion Launch Abort System motor designed to steer the astronauts away to safety in the unlikely event of an emergency.
The Launch Abort System includes three motors, and the motor tested was the attitude control motor. This motor consists of a solid propellant gas generator, with eight proportional valves equally spaced around the outside of the three-foot diameter motor. Together, the valves can exert up to 7,000 pounds of steering force to the vehicle in any direction upon command from the Orion spacecraft and are designed to safely steer Orion after an ascent abort. This is a critical safety enhancement of Orion for our journey to Mars.
The test was a success thanks to the collaborative efforts of NASA, Lockheed Martin and Orbital ATK. Lockheed Martin Space Systems of Littleton, Colorado is the prime contractor for the Orion spacecraft.