Orbital ATK Orion launch abort motor case passes structural qualification test

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Orbital ATK announced on February 29, 2016, that it conducted a successful structural qualification test on its abort motor case that is for use on NASA’s Orion spacecraft. The test was carried out on January 26, 2016.

Orbital ATK’s launch abort motor is integral to Orion’s Launch Abort System, which is designed to ensure the safety of astronauts flying on NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS).

The successful Motor Structural Test (MST-1) represents a milestone to qualifying the abort motor production design. Qualification demonstrates the abort motor design is capable of performing under the extreme temperatures, g-forces and speed needed for a crew rescue.

During the MST-1 qualification test, the case withstood axial tension and compression loads in excess of 500,000 lb, as well as simultaneous side loads. This test load application exceeds the loads that would be applied to the case during a launch abort scenario.

MST-1 is first in a series of full-scale structural qualification tests. Next in the series is Case Test (CT-1), which will be completed by Q2 2016. The CT-1 is a series of tests: hydrostatic acceptance, lifecycle checks with axial loads and internal pressure, pressurized qualification with axial and side loads, and a post-acceptance test.

Orbital ATK manufactures and tests the composite MST-1 case at its facility in Clearfield, Utah, USA. After fabrication and acceptance testing, the company will transfer the abort motor cases to its Magna, Utah facility for propellant casting and assembly.

March 4, 2016

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