Alliant Techsystems delivers motor for Orion rocket
Spaceflight • Launch abort system helps rocket crew in case of emergency.
Published: February 22, 2013 08:46AM
Updated: February 24, 2013 12:30AM
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The launch abort system for the Pad Abort-1 (PA-1) flight is prepared on the launch pad for the test at the U.S. Army's White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico in 2010. The integrated flight test will evaluate the ability of a launch abort system to pull the module and an astronaut crew to safety in the event of an emergency on a launch pad. The motor for the abort system was built by Alliant Techsystems in Utah. Courtesy U.S. Army White Sands Missile Range

Alliant Techsystems Inc., announced Thursday it has delivered a launch-abort motor to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida for NASA’s Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, scheduled to fly next year.

The launch-abort motor is part of Orion’s Launch Abort System, which is designed to safely pull the Orion crew module away from the rocket in the event of an emergency on the launch pad or just after take-off.

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

The motor was built in 2008 and further modified at ATK’s plants in Magna, Promontory and Clearfield. The company is contracted with Lockheed Martin, which is building the Orion launch system.

Two flights are scheduled for the Orion launch system before its first manned flight in 2020. Orion will travel more than 3,600 miles above Earth’s surface, farther than any manned spacecraft has gone in more than 40 years. It is designed for future manned missions to the moon, asteroids and possibly Mars.