Debbie V. Nguyen
Johnson Space Center, Houston

RELEASE : J09-014
NASA’S Launch Abort System Hardware in Las Cruces June 18
Las Cruces, N.M. – The Las Cruces and surrounding communities are invited to see a mockup of NASA’s nearly 45-foot long launch abort system (LAS) for its next crew exploration vehicle, Orion, and other NASA exhibits from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 18, at New Mexico State University "horseshoe" area. The free event will provide visitors a glimpse into NASA’s Pad Abort 1 test, which will take place in nearby White Sands Missile Range in November.

Other NASA exhibits include a large inflatable tent, handouts, a guest appearance by EVA, one of NASA’s inflatable astronauts, and models of its newest space vehicles, the Orion crew module and the Ares I and Ares V rockets. NASA’s Constellation Program is developing these vehicles, including the Altair lunar lander, to send humans to the International Space Station, moon and beyond after the shuttle retires in 2010.

Media interested in covering NASA’s exhibits at the event should contact Leslie Williams of NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center at 661-810-4977.

When astronauts launch to the moon aboard the Orion crew exploration vehicle, the LAS will pull the crew and its module out of danger should a malfunction in the launch vehicle occur on the launch pad or during ascent atop the Ares I rocket. The 90-second Pad Abort 1 flight test will help gather information about how LAS operates in reality.

The public events are part of the Las Cruces community event held in conjunction with the June 19 groundbreaking of Spaceport America, the world’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport.

For more information about NASA’s next steps in space exploration, visit:


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