NASA tests Orion abort system during launch at Kennedy Space Center
NASA said Tuesday that initial results show Tuesday's test of the launch abort system for the Orion spacecraft was "perfect."
The uncrewed test, called Ascent Abort-2, was to see whether the abort system could steer the spacecraft and carry astronauts a safe distance if an emergency happens while Orion is trying to reach orbit.
The test involved an 11-ton test version of the Orion spacecraft. It lifted off at approximately 7 a.m. EDT. After rocketing away for more than a minute, rockets near the top of the spacecraft fired, separating the abort system and the crew capsule.
The test did not involve parachutes. A data recorder on board was ejected as part of the test and will be recovered.
"By all first accounts, it was a perfect test," said Mark Kirasich, Orion program manager.
The Orion is the spacecraft being developed in the effort to return humans to the moon and, eventually, the first crewed mission to Mars.