NASA’s Ascent Abort-2 Test of Orion

Take a look at NASA’S Orion capsule launch abort system.

In a test targeted for April 2019 known as Ascent Abort-2, NASA will verify the Orion spacecraft’s launch abort system, a tower on top of the crew module, can steer the capsule and astronauts inside it to safety in the event of an issue with the Space Launch System rocket when the spacecraft is under the highest aerodynamic loads it will experience during ascent for deep-space missions. The test is quick, fast and high, lasting less than three minutes with the test crew module reaching an average speed of Mach 1.5, roughly 1020 miles per hour, at approximately 32,000 feet in altitude.


The latest in a series of tests to evaluate how well astronauts and ground crew can get out of the Orion spacecraft in an emergency on the launch pad was completed recently at NASA/Johnson Space Center’s Space Vehicle Mockup Facility. Data gathered in a series of test runs will help engineers evaluate the design of the capsule and refine procedures to make sure everyone will be evacuated as quickly as possible in cases where the launch abort system is not required to be activated, such as crew illness or the presence of fire or toxins in the crew cabin. The first crewed test flight of Orion and the Space Launch System is targeted for the early 2020s.