Aerospace and defence technology company Northrop Grumman has agreed to provide additional components for Orion human spaceflight capsule’s Launch Abort System (LAS). 

The contract was awarded by Orion’s prime contractor Lockheed Martin.

Under the contract, the company will provide six more abort motors and attitude control motors (ACM). 

Initially procured under the new Orion production contract, these abort motors will be used for six crewed Artemis missions III-VIII. 

The spacecraft’s LAS is a three-motor stack consisting of an abort motor, an attitude control motor and the jettison motor.  

These motors will be mounted over the Orion spacecraft crew capsule. The integrated Orion and LAS sit over NASA’s Space Launch System. 

Orion’s LAS is designed to carry the Orion spacecraft and its crew to safety if an anomaly happens on the launch pad or during the SLS rocket’s climb to orbit.  

Northrop Grumman propulsion system vice-president Charlie Precourt said: “As a former astronaut, there is nothing more important to me than ensuring crew safety to the greatest extent possible. 

“Our contribution to Orion’s Launch Abort System helps to ensure it is equipped with trusted, reliable propulsion to safeguard Artemis crews.” 

Manufacture of the abort motor is being carried out at its facilities in Magna, Promontory and Clearfield, Utah.  

It can provide thrust of about 400,000lb within two seconds to lift the crew away from the launch vehicle.  

The ACM is designed to steer the Orion crew capsule away from the launch vehicle. It is produced at the company’s Elkton, Maryland facility.  

Last month, Northrop Grumman successfully tested of Nasa’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket motor known as Flight Support Booster (FSB-1), for Artemis missions in Promontory, Utah, US. 

Northrop Grumman’s abort motor and attitude control motor supply the power that enables the Orion spacecraft crew to propel to safety in the event of an anomaly on the launch pad.