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Popular Science Honors NASA's Orion Launch Abort System, Kepler, LRO
Orion mockups and Launch Abort System adjacent to the launch gantry

Mockups of the Orion crew module and Launch Abort System were recently assembled adjacent to the launch gantry at White Sands Missile Range to familiarize technicians with stacking procedures prior to using actual launch abort system hardware. (NASA / WSMR photo)

Popular Science magazine has honored NASA's Orion Launch Abort System with a Best of What's New award for 2009 in the aviation and space category. The Orion Launch Abort System is managed by NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., with the system's upcoming Abort Flight Tests at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico led by NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center. The first Pad Abort-1 flight test is tentatively scheduled for early spring of 2010.

The magazine also named NASA's revolutionary planet-hunting Kepler space telescope and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter moon-mapping mission as 2009 Best of What's New awards winners, with the Kepler winning the Grand Award. Popular Science announced the award winners in its December issue.

The Kepler telescope also won a 2009 Breakthrough Award from Popular Mechanics Magazine.