Today, Project Constellation put another notch in its belt as the Orion Program’s Pad Abort Test was conducted to a resounding success.
All of the Pad Abort Test preliminary numbers indicate that the test flight spacecraft when higher, farther and landed softer than expected. Translated, this means that the launch abort system (LAS) motor performed better, as did the Orion spacecraft parachutes, than predicted.
There are not many times in aerospace when a test produces better than expected results, but like the Ares I-X test flight, the Pad Abort Test is one of those times. Come to think of it, it seems that all of the Constellation Project’s tests have been successful…begging the question as to why some, including the Gang Of Four, continue to work for Constellation’s end. And if one looks at the lack of such success in programs meant to replace Constellation, answering that question becomes all the more important.