On Wednesday, Aug. 31, Aerojet Rocketdyne successfully conducted a full-duration test of the solid-fueled rocket motor designed to jettison the launch abort system and separate it from the Orion spacecraft.
This 1.5-second test took place at the company’s Rancho Cordova, California, facility. It was conducted on the third development motor. The test helped provide performance data for Aerojet Rocketdyne and Orion prime contractor Lockheed Martin.Aerojet Rocketdyne performed a 1.5-second static fire of the jettison motor for the Orion Launch Abort System. Photo Credit: Aerojet Rocketdyne
“In today’s test, the jettison motor generated more than 45,000 pounds of thrust, which is roughly enough thrust to lift two school buses off the ground,” said Cheryl Rehm, Orion program manager at Aerojet Rocketdyne, in a release issued by the company. “Data from this test will be used to confirm our test objectives and ensure our readiness to begin manufacturing our qualification and production flight motors.”
Not to be confused with the abort motor that pulls the Orion crew vehicle from the launch vehicle, which would only be used in the event of an emergency, the jettison motor is a critical element of every flight.
In a nominal flight profile, the Launch Abort System (LAS) – along with the accompanying aerodynamic shell protecting Orion – will need to be detached from the spacecraft shortly after first stage separation, and it is the job of the jettison motor to accomplish this critical task. Read more in my piece for SpaceFlight Insider.