VIDEO: NASA launches Orion crew capsule to test abort system

Agency aims to put astronauts back on the moon by 2024 using Space Launch System rocket

The NASA Orion spacecraft capsule splashes down in the Atlantic Ocean after a launch from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Tuesday, July 2, 2019, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

NASA conducted a full-stress launch abort test Tuesday for the Orion capsules designed to carry astronauts to the moon.

The capsule was empty for the morning demo, which officials said appeared to be successful.

Barely a minute after liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, the abort motor fired, pulling the capsule from the booster about six miles (10 kilometres) up. The capsule continued upward another two miles (three kilometres), then flipped to jettison the abort tower.

NASA chose not to use parachutes to keep this test version of the capsule simple and thus save time, and so it crashed into the Atlantic at 300 mph (480 kph) as planned, the three-minute test complete. Twelve data recorders popped off in bright orange canisters before impact, for ocean retrieval.

“By all accounts, it was magnificent,” said program manager Mark Kirasich. It will take a few months to go through all the data collected by the hundreds of vehicle sensors, he said.

NASA aims to put astronauts back on the moon by 2024 using its still-in-development Space Launch System, or SLS, rocket. Tuesday’s test represents “a really great, great step forward today for the team,” Kirasich said.

This was the second abort test for Orion, conducted at a speed of more than 800 mph (1,300 kph). The first, in New Mexico in 2010, was lower and slower.

A launch abort system on a Russian rocket saved the lives of two astronauts last October. They launched again in December, this time making it to the International Space Station, where they’re still working.

READ MORE: SpaceX launches mega rocket, lands all 3 boosters

“It had been 35 years since anyone on the planet had had to exercise their launch abort system,” NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik told reporters Monday. “That was definitely a good message to all of us that, ‘Hey, this is serious stuff. This isn’t just an OK, it probably won’t happen.’ We need to be ready.”

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘Someone knows something’: a look into Vancouver Island missing persons with interactive map

There are more than three dozen people listed as missing throughout Vancouver Island

North Island College announces 2020 graduation award winners

North Island College has announced the award recipients for the 2020 Graduation… Continue reading

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Food security groups looking for new home in Campbell River

Grassroots Kind Hearts and other groups looking into alternatives

North Island College receives $125,000 donation from accounting firm

The donation from Chan Nowosad Boates will be used to purchase technology as well to award bursaries for students

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Mirror business directory and map

If you’d like to be added to the list, shoot us an email

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

B.C. Ferries increasing passenger capacity after COVID-19 restrictions

Transport Canada 50-per-cent limit being phased out, no current plans to provide masks

Shellfish industry get funds to clean up at Island sites and beyond

Businesses can apply to cover half of costs to clean up so-called ‘ghost gear’

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

Most Read