The LAS(Launch Abort System) Pathfinder is making it’s way from the Langley facilities in Virginia to the White Sands Missile Range in preparation for the PAD Abort 1 test (PA-1). The Pad Abort 1 (PA-1) test could be in late April or early May. PA-1 was originally scheduled for September 2008, but has been pushed to the second quarter of 2009. This is the first of it’s kind since Apollo and will test the integration process and procedures.
During the PA-1 test the basic fuctionality of the 48.5 tall combined module and LAS will be tested. If the test succeeds it will be followed by the Ascent Abort 1 (AA-1) test in 2010. This test will include the Orion test capsule with the LAS on top of a surplus Peacekeeper missile motor.
The LAS system is intended to propel the Orion crew during a pad abort procedure to an altitude of 5000 feet and downrange. During a safe launch the LAS is jettisoned at 200,000 feet.
On it’s way to WSMR the LAS Pathfinder will be making stops for public viewing:
* Adventure Science Center in Nashville, Tenn., on Wednesday, March 4
* Science Museum Oklahoma in Oklahoma City on Friday and Saturday, March 6 and 7
* Don Harrington Discovery Center in Amarillo, Texas, on Sunday, March 8
* New Mexico Museum of Space History in Alamogordo, N.M., on Monday, March 9
Nice Animated Video of LAS test
…and fellow rocketeers will notice on a closeup of the above image that the LAS has been marked with a CG symbol