First Test of Orion Escape Vehicle Goes off 'Like Clockwork'

By Clay Dillow Posted 05.06.2010 at 10:35 am 6 Comments

Orion's Successful Escape NASA

With a budget battle looming and its Ares I rocket program all but dead, today NASA test-fired its $220 million Orion crew capsule, which it is currently repurposing into an escape vehicle, per President Obama's new vision for NASA. Conducted at the Army's White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, the launch came off without a hitch, launching Orion more than a mile skyward before deploying parachutes and drifting back to the desert floor a mile from the launch site.

"Wow, that went like clockwork from what I can see," said Jay Estes, NASA's deputy manager of the Orion project office. "That's an amazing test."


"[...] The system is designed to initiate crew abort in a split second should the crew be in danger on the launch pad or during early stages of ascent. But NASA also thinks the data gathered from the Orion tests will inform the design of future manned spacecraft."

This sounds like something you might watch on a Star Trek episode :) .