June 11, 2009
NASA reschedules launch abort system test
Weather concerns have prompted the U.S. space agency to reschedule the test launch of its Max Launch Abort System to no earlier than June 20.
The MLAS launch at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's flight facility on Wallops Island, Va., had been scheduled for June 15. The new June 20 launch window will extend from approximately 5:45 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. EDT.
NASA officials said the unpiloted test of the 33-foot-high vehicle is part of an effort to design a system for safely propelling future spacecraft and crews away from hazards on the launch pad or during the climb to orbit. The system is an alternative concept to the launch abort system chosen for NASA's Orion crew capsule.
The MLAS vehicle will be launched to an altitude of approximately one mile to simulate an emergency on the launch pad, NASA said.
A full-scale mockup of the crew module will separate from the launch vehicle and parachute into the Atlantic Ocean.