Northrop Grumman has delivered the inert abort motor of the Orion spacecraft’s launch abort system, which is designed to ensure the safety of the spacecraft’s crew, to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center for integration.
The company said Tuesday it shipped the 17-foot-tall motor following a wave of tests that concluded in December 2018. These tests demonstrated the component’s operation under extreme temperatures.
The motor brings four exhaust nozzles to support LAS, a system that works to take the astronauts away from the main body of the spacecraft in case of emergencies during initial launch ascent and launch pad activities.
NASA will use Orion for missions to explore the moon, Mars and other target areas in deep space. Orion will launch with the Space Launch System its first flight, the Artemis 1 mission, which is set to commence in June 2020.
Northrop now prepares for a second ascent abort flight test scheduled for July. The upcoming test will take place in Cape Canaveral, Fla.