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NASA and partners test Orion launch abort motor

Orion’s LAS is designed to safely jettison the spacecraft and crew out of harm’s way in the event of an emergency on the launch pad or during initial launch ascent. The recent test —  dubbed Qualification Motor-1 (QM-1) — came after a series of component tests conducted over the past few years in preparation for qualification. According to the team, the QM-1 test confirms that the LAS motor can activate within milliseconds and will perform as designed under high temperatures.

The high-impulse motor was specifically developed so the majority of its propellant would be expended in the first three seconds, burning fuel three times faster than a typical motor of this size and delivering the thrust needed to pull the crew module safely away from its launch vehicle. During the test, the motor reached 400,000 pounds of thrust in one-eighth of a second, as the team had expected.


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