April 8, 2010

NASA Invites Media to Preview Test of New Launch Abort System

NASA has set a launch date and a media preview day for its next flight test, called Pad Abort 1. The flight test is part of an ongoing mission to develop safer vehicles for human spaceflight applications. The test is scheduled for May 6, with a media preview day April 23. Registration deadlines for reporters planning to attend are as early as April 9.

Pad Abort 1 will be the first fully integrated test of the launch abort system being developed for the Orion crew vehicle. The information gathered through the test will be used to design and develop future systems that provide a safe escape for crews in the event of an emergency.

Representatives from NASA and Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor for Orion, will provide an overview of the test and answer questions at a media preview on April 23. Reporters will be able to see the vehicle on the launch pad. The media day will take place at launch complex 32E at the U.S. Army's White Sands Missile Range near Las Cruces, N.M.

Journalists who intend to participate in the media day must register with the White Sands Missile Range Public Affairs Office by calling 575-678-1134. Foreign media representatives must register by April 9; U.S. media representatives must register by April 16.

The flight test May 6 will be broadcast on NASA Television and the agency's Web site. Media representatives planning to attend the flight test also must contact the White Sands Public Affairs Office. The deadline for foreign nationals to register is April 21. For U.S. journalists, the deadline is April 28. The launch viewing area is approximately four miles from the launch pad.

For NASA TV downlink, schedule and streaming video information, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/ntv

For more information about the Pad Abort 1 flight test, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/orion