It seems like only yesterday but, on July 2 at 6 a.m. CDT, NASA
successfully demonstrated the Orion spacecraft’s launch abort system can outrun
a speeding rocket and pull astronauts to safety during an emergency during
launch. The test, another milestone in the agency’s preparation for Artemis missions to the Moon that
will lead to astronaut missions to Mars, was captured on video—and also by NASA’s
WB-57 aircraft flying off the coast of Florida.
Enjoy this sequence of imagery taken from high altitude.
It’s just another vantage of the successful three-minute test, known to most as
Ascent Abort-2 (AA-2), which launched from Space Launch Complex 46 at Cape
Canaveral Air Force Station on a modified Peacekeeper missile
procured through the U.S. Air Force, built by Northrop Grumman.
Image Credits: NASA/Adam Klein
During AA-2, the Orion test spacecraft traveled to an
altitude of about six miles, at which point it experienced high-stress
aerodynamic conditions expected during ascent. The abort sequence triggered
and, within milliseconds, the abort motor fired to pull the crew module away
from the rocket. Its 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.
A slice of the heavens for the engineers at NASA—a successful AA-2 test as captured by high-altitude WB-57 aircraft. Image Credit: NASA/Adam Klein