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Device made by Arlington company to be used in NASA test flight

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A device made by Arlington-based ATK is designed to ensure the safety of NASA astronauts on future space missions.

ATK (Alliant Techsystems Inc.) has delivered a launch abort motor to Kennedy Space Center in Florida for next year’s test flight of NASA’s Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle. The Exploration Flight Test (EFT-1) will have no crew on board.

ATK’s abort motor is part of Orion’s Launch Abort System.  It is designed to safely pull the crew module away from the launch vehicle in an emergency.

Although a launch abort motor is not necessary for the unmanned test flight, having the entire launch abort system helps NASA achieve its goals simulating the system’s weight, structure and aerodynamics.

“Our launch abort motor is critical to ensuring safety, allowing for a greater reduction in risks for crewed flights,” Charlie Precourt, ATK vice president and general manager of the Space Launch Division, said in a statement. “This is an important milestone for America’s new human exploration program, which includes Orion and the Space Launch System, with a heavy-lift capability to take crew and cargo on missions to the moon, asteroids and eventually Mars.”

Successfully ground-tested in 2008 and flight-tested during Orion’s Pad Abort test in 2010, the launch abort motor is more than 17 feet tall, measures three feet in diameter. Two additional test flight tests are scheduled prior to a manned flight planned for 2020.

ATK is an aerospace, defense, and commercial products company with operations in 21 states, Puerto Rico, and overseas.


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