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Coverage Set for NASA Test of Orion Abort System for Moon to Mars Missions

test version of the Orion crew module for Ascent Abort-2
A test version of NASA’s Orion crew module for Ascent Abort-2 (AA-2), with its launch abort system attached, is hoisted by crane at Space Launch Complex 46 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida in May 2019. AA-2 is a critical safety test that helps pave the way for Artemis missions to the Moon and then Mars. Credits: NASA/Tony Gray

EDITOR’S NOTE: A postlaunch briefing now will be held approximately two hours after launch reviewing initial insights from the test data. Audio of this briefing will stream live on the agency’s website. (June 27, 2019)

NASA Television will broadcast launch and prelaunch activities for the Ascent Abort-2 flight test of the launch abort system for NASA’s Orion spacecraft, which will help pave the way for Artemis missions with astronauts to the Moon and then Mars.

The test’s four-hour launch window opens at 7 a.m. EDT Tuesday, July 2. A test version of the crew module will launch from Space Launch Complex 46 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. NASA TV coverage will begin at 6:40 a.m.

NASA also will host a test preview news conference at 11:30 a.m. Monday, July 1, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Participants include:

  • Mark Kirasich, Orion program manager
  • Jenny Devolites, Ascent Abort-2 test conductor
  • Randy Bresnik, NASA astronaut

The launch and preview news conference will air on NASA TV and the agency’s website. A postlaunch news conference is not planned.

Ascent Abort-2 will verify Orion’s abort system can pull the crew module away from an emergency during its ascent to space. During approximately three minutes of flight, a booster will loft the test capsule about six miles into the atmosphere to experience high-stress aerodynamic conditions, at which point the abort sequence will be triggered to carry the crew module a safe distance from the rocket. The test flight will help ensure the safety of astronauts in the unlikely event an emergency arises as they rocket into space.

Orion is part of NASA’s backbone for deep space exploration, along with the Space Launch System and Gateway, which will land the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024. Through the Artemis program, the next American Moon walkers will depart Earth aboard Orion and begin a new era of exploration.

For a full schedule of events, visit:

For more information about NASA’s Moon to Mars exploration plans, visit:


Kathryn Hambleton
Headquarters, Washington
Laura Rochon
Johnson Space Center, Houston
Brittney Thorpe
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.