Success: NASA tests Orion abort system

(WESH) NASA successfully tested a critical safety element of its Orion spacecraft Tuesday.

The launch was a test of the abort system that will ensure that astronauts can safely get away from the capsule if there’s an emergency after liftoff.

The crew capsule was empty for Tuesday morning’s demo at Cape Canaveral, which NASA said appeared to be successful.

Barely a minute after liftoff, the abort motor fired, pulling the capsule from the booster six miles up. The capsule continued upward, then flipped to jettison the abort tower.

NASA chose not to use parachutes, and so the capsule crashed into the Atlantic, the brief full-stress test complete.

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