The Orion spacecraft flew Tuesday morning and it looked pretty spectacular

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The Orion crew module - which is actually a stand-in shaped and weighted like the real thing - will undergo a full-stress test of its "launch abort system", or LAS, a series of three motors created to carry the module to safety should something go awry during a real rocket launch with astronauts aboard. The capsule eventually landed in the Atlantic Ocean several miles off shore.

NASA and its contractors are in the process of building the first SLS booster and the Orion capsules needed for its first three missions as part of the newly named Artemis moon program. NASA says this method will actually save them time and money. The entire test lasted 3 minutes and 13 seconds. "We have to prepare for this even though there's a low likelihood of it happening". But Nasa officials said that since the parachutes for the system have already been tested, none will be used on Wednesday.

In March, Vice President Pence called for the agency to speed up its plans. From there the astronauts can use another vehicle to descend to the lunar surface for the first time since 1972.

In doing so, he took aim at Nasa's bureaucracy, saying it "must transform itself into a leaner, more accountable and more agile organisation". "By all first accounts, it was magnificent", said NASA's Orion Program Manager Mark Kirasich.

The Trump administration has directed NASA to land astronauts on the moon in 2024, four years earlier than originally planned.

Later, they'd return to the Gateway aboard an ascent vehicle and re-board Orion for the return to Earth.

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The critical launch abort system for NASA's Orion spacecraft was put to its hardest test today, and it demonstrated its capability to pull the crew module and future astronauts to safety during a launch if there is an emergency.

Following takeoff, the Orion crew capsule cruised to an altitude of roughly six miles, where it experienced some high-stress aerodynamic conditions that typically arise during ascent. This test mimicked some of the most challenging conditions Orion will ever face should an emergency develop during the ascent phase of flight.

About 27 seconds after the abort was triggered, a third motor fired to pull the escape system and shroud away from the Orion capsule at a maximum altitude of about 44,000 feet.

At that same instant, explosive bolts fired to free the LAS and the dummy Orion capsule from the still-firing booster.

The crew capsule was empty for Tuesday morning's demo at Cape Canaveral, which NASA said appeared to be successful. Therefore, the capsule instead plummeted to a hard crash into the water.

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