At 31,000 feet, or about six miles up, into the flight, the on-board computers initiated the abort sequence
. The launch abort motors, generating 400,000 pounds of thrust, then pulled the Orion capsule away from the rocket which was already traveling nearly 1,000 mph.
Orion's parachutes are critical to the safe return of the spacecraft to Earth, whether during an abort sequence
or at the end of a successful deep space mission.
The abort sequence
triggered and, within milliseconds, the abort motor fired to pull the crew module away from the rocket.
During approximately three minutes of flight, a booster will loft the test capsule about six miles into the atmosphere to experience high-stress aerodynamic conditions, at which point the abort sequence
will be triggered to carry the crew module a safe distance from the rocket.
"We looked at free-flight tests of a dynamically scaled model - a one-twenty ninth scale model of an Orion capsule with launch abort system attached - to see how it responded in a free-flying mode, how it dynamically moved around as it fell to Earth after the abort sequence
started." Engineers conducted several other tests for Orion, including crew module dynamic stability and drogue parachute performance.