NASA, UN Space Agency, has successfully carried out Ascent Abort-2, a test of a launch-abort system, for the Orion capsule designed to take U.S. astronauts to the Moon. The three-minute test exercise was carried out at Cape Canaveral in Florida.
1. Ascent Abort-2 was aimed to test in almost real-life conditions the evacuation of astronauts from the capsule in the event of an explosion or rocket booster failure.
2. In the test, an unmanned Orion capsule was launched by a mini-rocket, a re-purposed first stage of an intercontinental ballistic missile.
After 55 seconds of the launch, a rocket-powered tower on top of the crew module ignited its engines to quickly pull the Orion away from a hypothetical rocket experiencing problems. It was tested at an altitude of 9,500 m. The capsule gained two miles of altitude in just 15 seconds. Then the tower reoriented the capsule to prepare it for its descent and disengagement from the tower. In this test, parachutes were not used as they are very expensive. Also, parachutes have been tested successfully. The parachutes would open to ease the manned capsule’s fall toward the Atlantic Ocean.
About Orion spacecraft:
NASA’s Orion spacecraft has been built to take humans far in space. Orion is an exploration vehicle. It will carry the crew to space. It is built to provide emergency abort capability, sustain the crew during the space travel, and provide safe re-entry from deep space return velocities. NASA’s Orion spacecraft has been planned to carry the first woman and the next man to the moon in 2024.