Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) sent the engine with an inert interruption of NASA's orbital spacecraft, Launch the System Breakdown (LAS) from Northrop Grumman facility in Magna, Utah, to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It will be integrated with LAS and Orion spacecraft, destined for the first NASA Space Systems Space named for Artemis 1.
The break engine is a key component of LAS, which provides an improvement in the safety of space shuttles for astronauts. Sending the engine transmission brings Orion one step closer to Artemis 1 and enabling people to explore the moon, Mars, and other deep-seated destinations out of the orbit of a low planet.
"Crew safety is always a top priority, and Orion's offensive system is state-of-the-art," said Charlie Preskur, vice president, propulsion systems, Northrop Grumman and a former astronaut of four hours. "The solid drive we use in the abortion engine is high-performance and safe; it should inspire confidence in all future Orion crew members and their families."
The purpose of the LAS of Orion is to safely withdraw the aircraft and crew from a detrimental route in the event of an emergency on the launch pad or during the initial launch of the launch. The break engine was subjected to a series of component tests that culminated in a successful static test in December 2018 at the Northrop Grumman facility in Promontory, Utah. The data from these tests confirmed motor activation within milliseconds and under extremely cold and hot temperatures, ensuring crew safety.
The shock-absorbing engine, which stands over 17 meters and extends three meters in diameter, is unique in that it has a four-exhaust nozzle collector. The engine, sent via a tram in a transporter, will be unloaded at the Kennedy Space Center. Integrating the interrupting engine is the first step in the integration of LAS to Orion.
Northrop Grumman's next major milestone is an Ascents-2 flight test (AA-2) to be held at the station at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, in early July. In addition to the launched launch engine, Northrop Grumman provides a launch vehicle designed to simulate the SLS launch for the AA-2. The interruption will occur during the Max-Q when the dynamic spacecraft's pressure is greatest.
Northrop Grumman is responsible for the launch of the engine interruption by contract with Lockheed Martin, the main contractor of Orion. The Orion LAS program is managed by NASA's Langley Research Center in Virginia. Northrop Grumman manufactures an aborted engine at Magna, Utah and the LAS position control engine at Elkton, Maryland. The company also produces a composite body for an aborted engine at its facility in Clearfield, Utah.
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