May 18, 2010

Science Scene - Orion

On May 6, 2010, NASA test-fired its $220 million Orion crew capsule, which it is currently re-purposing into an escape vehicle, per President Obama's new vision for NASA. Conducted at the Army's White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, the launch came off without a hitch, launching Orion more than a mile skyward before deploying parachutes and drifting back to the desert floor a mile from the launch site.

Dubbed Pad Abort-1, the mission performed a series of tasks during the short flight, including mid-air reorientation and firing of all of its three solid propellant rocket motors. The primary motor hurls the crew quickly away from the pad, an attitude control motor keeps it on the proper orientation, and a jettison motor divorces the crew module from the rest of the abort system so the parachutes can deploy. All systems, at least at first look, appear to be go.
The system is designed to initiate crew abort in a split second should the crew be in danger on the launch pad or during early stages of ascent. But NASA also thinks the data gathered from the Orion tests will inform the design of future manned spacecraft.



  1. Very interesting. I've always been keenly interested in space travel and our space program. The capsule looks like the old Apollo capsules, even down to returning to Earth by parachute.

    Thanks for sharing this!

  2. I want us to explore the Universe. So anything that improves safety for the crews, is a must have.


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