NASA tests alternate Orion abort system

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NASA test-launched its Max Launch Abort System (MLAS) at 06:26 EDT (10:26 GMT) on 8 July from its Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Designed for the space agency's Orion crew exploration vehicle, MLAS has four solid motors instead of the one the Orion abort system has now.

Developed by the NASA Engineering and Safety Center, MLAS was to be an 18-month project with the test launch in September 2008. It was delayed repeatedly until 8 July. The Max in MLAS is a reference to Mercury programme designer Maxime Faget and is not short for maximum.