Press Release

NASA Awards Orion Launch Abort Test Facilities Contract

By SpaceRef Editor
October 1, 2007
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NASA Awards Orion Launch Abort Test Facilities Contract

WHITE SANDS, N.M. — NASA’s White Sands Test Facility has awarded a contract to Denco, Inc. of Las Cruces, N.M., for the construction of launch site facilities for the Orion Launch Abort System flight testing at the facility.

Under terms of the $3.1 million pact, Denco will be responsible for the first work package of the Project Orion Abort Flight Test Launch Facility. The package covers construction of a 120-by-160-foot final integration and test facility building and surrounding site improvements and infrastructure. Groundbreaking is scheduled for mid-November.

The Abort Flight Test Launch Facility will be located at Launch Complex 32 on the U.S. Army’s White Sands Missile Range. It will support the Pad Abort 1 test mission from this facility in fall 2008, followed by the first ascent abort flight in fall 2009. Additional pad abort and ascent abort flights will extend through 2011. The White Sands Test Facility is operated by NASA’s Johnson Space Center at the missile range.

The flight tests at the White Sands Test Facility will support certification of Orion’s launch abort system, an escape rocket designed to ensure the safety of the crew in the event of a launch vehicle malfunction while on the launch pad or during ascent to orbit. A total of six tests are planned, pending environmental assessments. Two pad abort flights will simulate an abort from the launch pad, while the remaining four ascent abort flights will simulate aborts at three stressing conditions along the launch trajectory. The launch abort tests are managed by NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards Air Force Base, California.

The Orion Project Office, based at the Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas, is developing the Orion spacecraft as part of the Constellation Program’s work to return humans to the moon and prepare for future voyages to other destinations in our solar system.

For information about NASA’s Constellation Program on the Web, visit:

SpaceRef staff editor.