The Orion spacecraft completed a successful cold weather ground test of a launch abort system, aerospace giant Northrop Grumman said in a press release.
"Today’s test firing of the Northrop Grumman-manufactured launch abort motor in Promontory, Utah, confirmed the motor can activate within milliseconds and will perform as designed under cold temperatures," the release said on Thursday. "We never expect the launch abort motor to be used, but just like an ejection seat in a fighter pilot's aircraft, if they need it, it needs to work every time."
In Thursday's test, NASA's abort motor for the Orion spacecraft fired for five seconds, with exhaust flames about 100 feet high, the release said. The motor achieved approximately 350,000 pounds of thrust in one-eighth of a second, as expected, the release said.
In October, a Russian launch abort system saved NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin when the rocket carrying their Soyuz spacecraft to the International Space Station malfunctioned seconds after liftoff.