ATK Launch Abort hardware arrives at KSC ahead of EFT-1

February 21, 2013 by Chris Bergin

Launch Abort System (LAS) hardware for the Exploration Flight Test -1 (EFT-1) mission has arrived at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) for integration on the Orion that will be launched on a Delta IV-Heavy next Summer. ATK’s inert motor will be used to simulate the same weight, structure and aerodynamics of the live motor configuration that will ride on the Space Launch System (SLS).


The launch abort motor is more than 17 feet tall, measures three feet in diameter, and includes turn-flow rocket manifold technology. It was successfully ground-tested in 2008, before enjoying a flight test at White Sands in New Mexico, during Orion’s Pad Abort (PA-1) test in 2010.

The LAS will conduct two further flight tests, the first during the uncrewed Exploration Mission -1 (EM-1) in 2017, prior to a High Altitude Abort test that will allow LAS to become a required safety element on the crewed Exploration Mission -2 (EM-2).

The LAS’ key role is to safely pull the Orion crew module away from the launch vehicle in the event of an emergency on the launch pad or during the initial ascent of an SLS mission.

“Our launch abort motor is critical to ensuring safety, allowing for a greater reduction in risks for crewed flights,” noted Charlie Precourt, ATK vice president and general manager of the Space Launch Division.

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