NASA has released a video of a successful full-scale test of the Orion crew exploration vehicle launch abort system (LAS) at booster-maker Alliant Techsystems'Promontory, Utah, test site on 20 November. The static test firing, with the inverted LAS attached to a vertical test fixture, followed five earlier subscale tests of the motor and precedes a pad abort test with the LAS attached to full-scale crew module mass mockup scheduled for spring 2009.


Engineers said the LAS generated 500,000lb thrust “nearly instantaneously” and maintained the thrust profile for approximately 4s. The system is designed to generate a controlled 15G acceleration that can pull the module up and away from booster at any phase of launch from the pad to high altitudes and Mach 6 speed. The LAS is expected to pull the dummy crew module 1.8km high and 1.8 km downrange during the full scale test in the spring.