The three-minute test took place on Tuesday at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA conducted a full-stress launch abort test Tuesday for the Orion capsules designed to carry astronauts to the moon.
The capsule was empty for the morning demo, which officials said appeared to be successful.
Barely a minute after liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, the abort motor fired, pulling the capsule from the booster about six miles (10 kilometers) up. The capsule continued upward another two miles (3 kilometers), then flipped to jettison the abort tower.
NASA chose not to use parachutes to keep this test version of the capsule simple and thus save time, and so it crashed into the Atlantic at 300 mph (480 kph) as planned, the three-minute test complete. Twelve data recorders popped off in bright orange canisters before impact, for ocean retrieval.
“By all accounts, it was magnificent,” said program manager Mark Kirasich. It will take a few months to go through all the data collected by the hundreds of vehicle sensors, he said.
NASA aims to put astronauts back on the moon by 2024 using its still-in-development Space Launch System, or SLS, rocket. Tuesday’s test represents “a really great, great step forward today for the team,” Kirasich said.
This was the second abort test for Orion, conducted at a speed of more than 800 mph (1,300 kph). The first, in New Mexico in 2010, was lower and slower.
Last October, a launch abort system on a Russian rocket saved the lives of two astronauts. They launched again in December, this time making it to the International Space Station, where they’re still working.
“It had been 35 years since anyone on the planet had had to exercise their launch abort system,” NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik told reporters Monday. “That was definitely a good message to all of us that, ‘Hey, this is serious stuff. This isn’t just an OK, it probably won’t happen.’ We need to be ready.”
|US Open 2019|
|Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York Dates: 26 Aug – 8 Sep|
|Coverage: Live text and BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra commentary on selected matches on the BBC Sport website and app. Click here for Live Guide.|
Six-time champion Serena Williams is safely through to the fourth round of the US Open after a routine victory over Czech Karolina Muchova.
And third seed Karolina Pliskova overcame a mid-match blip to beat Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur 6-1 4-6 6-4.
The Czech 2016 finalist had been a set and a break up and had appeared to be cruising before Jabeur took a medical timeout early in the second set and won five games in a row to make a match of it.
Pliskova will face British number one Johanna Konta in the fourth round after the 16th seed defeated China’s Zhang Shuai 6-2 6-3.
They are joined in the fourth round by Ukrainian fifth seed Elina Svitolina, who beat compatriot Dayana Yastremska 6-2 6-0 in just 54 minutes.
She will face 10th seed and 2017 runner-up Madison Keys, who battled past fellow American Sofia Kenin 6-3 7-5 after taking a medical timeout in the second set because she “did not feel 100%”.
She had been cruising but her level dropped in the second set and she had her pulse and blood pressure checked while trailing 4-3. But she continued playing and went on to get a decisive break in the 11th game before serving out the match.
Meanwhile, Australian French Open champion Barty will take on Chinese 18th seed Wang Qiang or France’s Fiona Ferro.
Williams, who is still seeking to equal Australian Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles, will play Croatian 22nd seed Petra Martic in round four.
Martic, a French Open quarter-finalist, defeated Latvian 12th seed Anastasija Sevastova 6-4 6-3 on court 10.