Pad Abort 1 (Orion)

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Pad Abort 1
450775main wstf0510e04493 hires.jpg
Launch of the Pad Abort 1 test
Mission type Abort test
Operator NASA
Mission duration 95 seconds
Distance travelled 2.1 kilometres (6,900 ft)
Apogee 1.8 kilometres (6,000 ft)
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft type Orion boilerplate
Start of mission
Launch date May 6, 2010, 13:03:00 (2010-05-06UTC13:03Z) UTC
Rocket Orion Launch Abort System
Launch site White Sands LC-32E[1]
End of mission
Landing date May 6, 2010, 13:04:35 (2010-05-06UTC13:04:36Z) UTC
Orion logo.png

Pad Abort 1 (PA-1) was a flight test of the Orion Launch Abort System (LAS). Orion was a component of Constellation, a human spaceflight project within NASA, the space agency of the United States. PA-1 was the first test in a sequence of atmospheric flight tests known as Orion Abort Flight Test (AFT).

PA-1 tested the basic functionality of the launch abort concept from the pad in its preliminary Orion design configuration. It used the former conformal shape of the LAS adapter. The Flight Test Article (FTA) vehicle will differ from production Orion vehicles in a number of ways. For example, the FTA will not have a crew on board, and the avionics will be a prototype of what is planned for production Orions.[2]

The PA-1 Test took place at the U.S. Army's White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The full-scale Orion AFT crew module completed preparations at Dryden Flight Research Center and was loaded aboard a United States Air Force C-17 for transport to White Sands on August 18, 2009.[3] The Orion PA-1 and Pathfinder Crew Module test articles were fabricated at Langley Research Center.[4] Sub assemblies of the PA-1 Launch Abort System began arriving at White Sands in the spring of 2009.[5] NASA reported the date for this test would be early 2010.[6] In October 2009 Orbital Sciences indicated the test was scheduled for March 2010.[7] On March 30, 2010, NASA stated that the launch would be May 6, 2010,[8]



 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

  1. ^ "NASA Building Test Pad at White Sands for New Spacecraft". redOrbit. February 3, 2008. Retrieved September 12, 2008. 
  2. ^ Idicula et al. "A Flight Dynamics Perspective of the Orion Pad Abort One Flight Test". AIAA. 
  3. ^ "Orion Abort Flight Test Crew Module Departs Dryden For White Sands". NASA. August 13, 2009. Retrieved August 18, 2009. 
  4. ^ "Langley Reaches Milestone, Completes Orion Crew Module Test Article". NASA. October 6, 2008. Retrieved October 10, 2008. 
  5. ^ "Abort Motor Arrives for NASA's Orion Launch Safety System". NASA. May 15, 2009. Retrieved August 18, 2009. 
  6. ^ "Orion Pad Abort Test Slips Into 2010". Aviation Week. August 17, 2009. Retrieved August 18, 2009. 
  7. ^ "Q3 2009 Orbital Sciences Corporation Earnings Conference Call". Thomson Reuters. Oct 27, 2009. 
  8. ^ "Pad Abort Flight Test Set for May 6 at White Sands Missile Range" (Press release). NASA. March 30, 2010. Retrieved April 6, 2010. 

External links[edit]

Orion Pad Abort 1 Video Highlights at Vimeo