Friday, November 21, 2008

NASA to Brief Media about Test of Orion Launch Abort System Motor

NASA, ATK, Orbital Sciences Corp. and Lockheed Martin representatives will hold a teleconference at 2:30 p.m. MST today, Thursday, Nov. 20, to discuss the results of the first full-scale test fire of the motor for a new launch abort system.

Reporters should dial 888-469-1980 or 517-308-9161 and give the passcode "motor test" to participate in the call.

The launch abort system will sit atop the Orion crew exploration vehicle. The abort motor is designed to pull the crew module away from the Ares I launch vehicle in an emergency situation on the launch pad or during the first 300,000 feet after launch.

The test takes place today at 1 p.m. at the ATK Launch Systems facility in Promontory, Utah. This is the first time such a test has been conducted since the Apollo Program tested its launch escape system in the 1960s. The demonstration is the culmination of a series of motor and component tests conducted earlier this year in preparation for a test with a mock-up of the Orion crew capsule scheduled for the spring of 2009.

NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., manages the Orion launch abort system. Alliant Techsystems, or ATK, is responsible for the launch abort motor under contract to Orbital Sciences Corporation of Dulles, Va. Orbital is building the entire launch abort system for the Orion crew exploration vehicle. Lockheed Martin Corporation of Denver is the prime contractor for Orion.

Audio of the teleconference will be streamed live at:

For more information about the Orion crew capsule and the Constellation Program, visit:

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