NASA's Orion spacecraft has completed a fundamental test before its 2020 moon mission (Image: GETTY)
The main rocket engine completed another test before it is launched by NASA in 2020 as part of the Artemis program, according to Space.com. The propulsion system for Orion’s service module fired continuously for 12 minutes which simulated engine activity during an abort-to-orbit scenario. If the spacecraft was put into an abort-to-orbit situation, the service module would separate early from the Orion’s interim cryogenic propulsion stage (ICPS) and fire its boosters to get to a temporary orbit.
Ground control would then re-evaluate with the crew and craft and plan an alternative route to the Moon.
Even if Orion changes its mission plan, it may still be able to complete some of its mission goals.
Deputy manager of the Orion Service Module at NASA's Glenn Research Centre, Josh Freeh said: "This was our most demanding test for the pressurisation system, including our propellant tanks, valves and other components.”
The test was successful in firing Orion’s main engine and all eight of the module’s auxiliary engines at the same time.