NASA has tested the attitude control motor of the Orion Launch Abort System (LAS) to prove that its material can survive not only the intense temperatures, pressures, noise, and vibrations experienced during a launch emergency, but also 40 percent beyond. The LAS is being designed to bring a crew to safety should there be a problem in the launch pad or during ascent.
Built by Orbital ATK, the motor consists of a solid propellant gas generator with eight proportional valves equally spaced around the outside of the three-foot-diameter motor. Together, the valves can exert up to 7,000 pounds of steering force to the vehicle in any direction upon command from the Orion. The motor would be used to keep the LAS, with the crew module, on a controlled flight path if it needed to jettison and steer away from the launch vehicle in an emergency. It also reorients the module for parachute deployment and landing.