Stunning Sunrise Blastoff Of NASA’s Orion In-Flight Abort Test Flight: Gallery

 

NASA’s Ascent Abort-2 mission successfully launched at 7 a.m. EDT July 2, 2019 from Space Launch Complex 46 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on a critical test of the Launch Abort System (LAS) with a test version of the Orion crew module in this remote camera view. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

Ken Kremer — SpaceUpClose.com & RocketSTEM – 5 July 2019

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL – A test version of NASA’s Orion deep space capsule soared
skywards during an absolutely stunning sunrise blastoff Tuesday morning July 2 on a critical in-flight test of the Launch Abort System (LAS) to save astronauts lives in the event of an sudden catastrophic failure of the rocket thrusting to space.

The  successful Ascent Abort-2 (AA2) mission used a fully functional Launch Abort System (LAS) tower bolted atop a test version of NASA’s Orion capsule slated to send astronauts to deep space including the Moon and Mars as part of NASA’s Artemis program.

AA-2 is the last Orion test flight prior to the uncrewed Artemis 1 mission to the Moon and back targeted for late 2020 or 2021.

Liftoff of the AA2 mission took place right on time at 7 a.m. EDT July 2 from Launch Complex 46 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at the opening of the 4 hour long launch window atop a retired and refurbished Peacekeeper ICBM 1st stage nuclear missile motor.

It was a literally once in a lifetime chance to see a completely different type of rocket
launch not targeting orbit.

Enjoy our photos of the AA2 test flight on site at the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and Jetty Park by myself and colleague Jean Wright.

Check back as the gallery grows. 

NASA’s Ascent Abort-2 mission successfully launched at 7 a.m. EDT July 2, 2019 from Space Launch Complex 46 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on a critical test of the Launch Abort System (LAS) with a test version of the Orion crew module in this remote camera view. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

The launch vehicle stack stands 93 feet (28 meters) tall and consists of a mock Orion capsule atop a retired and modified Peacekeeper ICBM 1st stage motor certified and procured through the U.S. Air Force and built by Northrop Grumman with the Launch Abort System (LAS) tower bolted on top and built by prime contractor Lockheed Martin with a jettison motor provided by Aerojet Rocketdyne.

The sunrise launch was spectacularly beautiful under sunny conditions that were
about as good as one could have hoped for midsummer in Florida – accompanied by
a completely clear view of the entire test sequence which was short as intended and lasted approximately 3 minutes.

The LAS is equipped with three different types of motors to pull the capsule away, flip
it around and jettison the tower to deploy it and everything appeared to function as designed.

The sequence below shows that LAS abort sequence in real time utilizing all 3 motors firing in this simulated emergency to save the crew had they been aboard.
The LAS is a puller abort system like Apollo and Soyuz 

3 major components of NASA Orion Ascent Abort-2 test flight successfully separate and fall back to Earth after liftoff at 7 a.m. EDT, July 2, 2019 – mock Orion crew capsule, Peacekeeper 1st stage booster and Launch Abort System (LAS) – to demonstrate that launch abort escape system will save astronauts lives in case of a catastrophic rocket failure.  Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com










The 22,000 pound Orion test spacecraft traveled to an altitude of about six miles (31,000 ft, 9800 m) powered by the 400,000 pound thrust Peacekeeper stage “at which point it experienced high-stress aerodynamic conditions expected during ascent” to simulate the conditions of maximum aerodynamic pressure or ‘Max-Q’ it will experience during launch onNASA’s mammoth Space Launch System (SLS) rocket. 

The abort sequence was automatically triggered at T + 50 seconds as the vehicle was speeding skywards traveling at Mach 1.3. Within milliseconds, the abort motor on the LAS tower fired to pull the crew module away from the rocket as would happen during a true launch emergency to save the astronauts lives and avoid catastrophe.

Then the LAS attitude control motor flipped the capsule end-over-end to properly orient it, and then the jettison motor fired, releasing the crew module for splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean some 7 miles or so off shore three minutes later. 

NASA’s Ascent Abort-2 mission successfully launched at 7 a.m. EDT July
2, 2019 from Space Launch Complex 46 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in
Florida on a critical test of the Launch Abort System (LAS) with a test version
of the Orion crew module in this remote camera view.
Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

Watch my Up Close video of the launch via a remote video camera stationed at pad 46:

 

UpClose look of NASA’s Ascent Abort-2 mission successfully launched on Peacekeeper ICBM
missile at 7 a.m. EDT July 2, 2019 from Space Launch Complex 46 at Cape
Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on a critical test of the Launch Abort
System (LAS) with a test version of the Orion crew module – in this remote
camera view.
Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

 

The Orion test capsule crashed into the ocean at over 300 MPH since there were no parachutes included in this test to carry out a soft splashdown since there were no astronauts aboard. 
See our Space UpClose photos documenting the entire action-packed sequences.



 

3 major components of NASA Orion Ascent Abort-2 test flight
successfully separate and fall back to Earth after liftoff at 7 a.m. EDT, July
2, 2019 – mock Orion crew capsule, Peacekeeper 1st stage booster and Launch
Abort System (LAS) – to demonstrate that launch abort escape system will save
astronauts lives in case of a catastrophic rocket failure. 
Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

 

The Orion Launch Abort System (LAS) tower plummets upside
down back to Earth for crashing splashdown in Atlantic Ocean after pulling
capsule away for simulated failed booster, reorienting it and deploying it to
conclude Ascent Abort 2 test flight on July 2, 2019 from Cape Canaveral. Credit: Ken
Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

 

The Peacekeeper ICBM first stage booster plummets back to
Earth for crashing splashdown in Atlantic Ocean after LAS pulls capsule away
for simulated failed booster, to conclude Ascent Abort 2 test flight on July 2, 2019 from
Cape Canaveral. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
The Peacekeeper ICBM first stage booster plummets back to
Earth for crashing splashdown in Atlantic Ocean after LAS pulls capsule away
for simulated failed booster, to conclude Ascent Abort 2 test flight on July 2,
2019 from Cape Canaveral. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
Peacekeeper ICBM first stage booster plummets back to Earth
seen here moments before crashing into the Atlantic Ocean at >300 MPH after  LAS pulls capsule away for simulated failed
booster, to conclude Ascent Abort 2 test flight July 2, 2019 from Cape
Canaveral. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
Peacekeeper ICBM first stage
booster plummets back to Earth and crashes into the Atlantic Ocean at >300 MPH
after LAS pulls capsule away for simulated failed booster, to conclude Ascent
Abort 2 test flight July 2, 2019 from Cape Canaveral. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

 

 



Ken was onsite at the Kennedy Space Center for live coverage of NASA’s Orion Ascent Abort-2 test launch.

Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and more space and mission reports direct from the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida and Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia. 


Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com –www.spaceupclose.com – twitter @ken_kremer
– email: ken at kenkremer.com
Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics.
………….
Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events
Ken’s upcoming outreach events: 
Jul 15/16/17: Quality Inn Kennedy Space Center, Titusville, FL, evenings.  Learn more about the upcoming/recent NASA Orion Ascent-2 Abort test  Falcon Heavy, NASA 2024 Moon landing
goal, SpaceX Starlink-1,
SpaceX Falcon 9/CRS-17 launch to ISS, SpaceX Demo-1 launch/test failure, SpaceX Beresheet launch, NASA missions, ULA Atlas & Delta launches, Northrop Grumman Antares, SpySats and more

Ken’s will display his photos for sale

Enjoythese AA2 launch and splashdown photos from Jean Wright of Space UpClose taken
by Jetty Park and Jetty Park Beach

Credit:
Jean Wright/Space UpClose

 

 

Credit:
Jean Wright/Space UpClose
Credit:
Jean Wright/Space UpClose



 

 

Ken Kremer

Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and more space and mission reports direct from Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Stay tuned here for Ken's continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news. Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics. Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events.

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