back to article NASA smacks an Orion into the water with a successful Ascent Abort-2 Test

NASA completed the Ascent Abort-2 test of its Orion spacecraft today, deliberately crashing a test version of the capsule into the ocean after successfully demonstrating the Launch Abort System (LAS) would do its thing. The launch, at 0700 EDT (1100 UTC) from Space Launch Complex 46 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in …

  1. LeahroyNake Bronze badge

    Are parachutes that expensive

    I really wonder why they didn't fit the parachutes to this test, do they really cost that much compared to the rest of the kit that was dumped in the ocean?

    1. PerlyKing Bronze badge

      Re: Are parachutes that expensive

      At the current rate of development, beeellions of dollars and several years :-/

      I'm happy that it worked, and I expect that all those involved are glad to have finally flown something! -->

    2. DropBear Silver badge

      Re: Are parachutes that expensive

      Maybe they subscribe to the IT philosophy "never test for an error you don't know how to handle" a.k.a. what you don't test can't fail...

    3. Notas Badoff

      Re: Are parachutes that expensive

      See Boilerplate (spaceflight). If you are testing whether you can make that brick 'fly', do you really care that much about the brick?

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: Are parachutes that expensive

        I'm somewhat surprised too, as they will need to do the whole thing again with parachutes at some point (no point in an abort unless it can land safely afterwards) so surely it's cheaper to do both tests on a boilerplate at the same time?

        I'm assuming they expected success as you don't do these kinds of tests unless you're reasonably confident it works.

        Unless they have no idea where to put the parachutes yet?

        1. Julz Bronze badge

          Re: Are parachutes that expensive

          Apparently not:

          “It’s a three-minute flight test, but it’s really the only full-scale system test that we have before we put crew on the vehicle, so it’s definitely critical for making sure that we can get the crew safely away in an emergency,” said Jenny Devolites, the Orion AA-2 test director from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

    4. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Re: Are parachutes that expensive

      This test cost $250m (!!!)

      Performing the parachute test separately allows them to pay the contractor another $250m.

  2. Marty McFly

    Hopefully a one-time video

    Here's to never needing to use this system, but glad it was built & tested.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Hopefully a one-time video

      They'll need to do it again with parachutes.

      Unless they're just going to skip integration testing.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hopefully a one-time video

        If Boeing were building it, they could just do the test on a simulator and call it as OK

  3. hittitezombie

    that is, if SLS lasts

    Senate Launch System is pretty much guaranteed to be cancelled, it's not going anywhere.

    1. LeahroyNake Bronze badge

      Re: that is, if SLS lasts

      They could launch the senate... They would probably want the parachutes fitted though :/

      1. ma1010 Silver badge

        Re: that is, if SLS lasts

        Launch the Senate? Please!

        While you're at it, why not add in Ajit Pai and a few others around Washington that I could name, as well.

        I see no reason at all to worry with trifles like parachutes.

        1. CountCadaver

          Re: that is, if SLS lasts

          How about we just launch the entire federal govt into space, then follow up with every other countries political leaders and then work down to county councils would be a better place without someone constantly dreaming up some hairbrained scheme to meld the world into their image....

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: that is, if SLS lasts

          Let's not forget to add dumpy pants. He'll even go willingly if we call him a winner and give him a gold seat to sit on.

    2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: that is, if SLS lasts

      SLS is doing its job fine. Its purpose is to move federal tax revenues to the preferred contractors in the right states. It will continue to drag on in its current form until it is required to fund different states. At that point it will get a new name, a different goal that requires a complete redesign and a bigger budget. Spacex and Blue Origin will have manned bases on Mars and the Moon before SLS can be cancelled.

      1. hittitezombie

        Re: that is, if SLS lasts

        $16b more to spend until 2022 I read, then cancel, redo.

  4. Neil Barnes Silver badge


    My word, that thing fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down. It just does not look *right*.

    1. nematoad Silver badge

      Re: Stumpy...

      "It just does not look *right*."

      Maybe, but worked though.

    2. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Re: Stumpy...

      Do you reckon it needs some fins?

    3. Andy The Hat Silver badge

      Re: Stumpy...

      I think "stumpy" is a good description.

      I can't remember ever seeing a rocket that shape fly ... unless it was drawn for Dan Dare - perhaps he was indeed the Pilot of the Future!

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Stumpy...

        Yes, the launch did look a bit odd. Take it out onto a concrete apron, sit it on a trivet thingy and light the blue touchpaper. No launch tower need for little Stumpy.

    4. Phil Koenig

      Re: Stumpy...

      It doesn't look "right" because it's more or less just the top of the final launch stack, equivalent to the 2nd stage, a dummy crew module, and the Launch Abort System. (LAS - the little tower on the top, which is what they were primarily testing today)

      This is what the completed launch vehicle will look like during the first stage of the launch:

  5. Spanners Silver badge


    Fair enough reporting what NASA announces but I am a bit young to grasp the units of measure they use.

    For those of us under 85, could you put something next to things like "22,000 pounds" - perhaps "about 10 tonnes" would do there. You can put Reg' Units as well if you like.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Units

      Fair point, but it's also hard to "grasp" 10 tonnes too.

  6. MonkeyBob

    That's nothing

    I can safely* abort a whole stack in the Ocean, including Kerbals

    *for some measure of safe ----->

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