Monday, July 6, 2009
The Orion Abort Test Booster, Almost.
I Found it! Almost.
This info is less than a year old, so it's practically current.
This hasn't been an easy search, I had to buildup a string of
clues. I knew the test flights would occur at White Sands Missile
Range. I more or less trolled through the NASA facilities until
I found that NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards
AFB has the project. Dryden is responsible for vehicle integrations
The linked Dryden document below is a treasure trove.
I found that Orbital Sciences Corporation, Chandler, Ariz. is
constructing the Abort Test Booster. Thus the all important
acronym; ATB. For a successful technical search, having the
correct acronym for a keyword can be crucial. Even when I
went to the Orbital Sciences website it took a bit of searching,
I had to use their search box, but "ATB" gave up a bunch of
documents. Unfortunately for me, the 4.1MB PDF fact sheet
wouldn't open once I downloaded it. My PC OS is too old.
So far, all I've found are illustrations, and not photographs,
thus the "Almost" in the title. But good illustrations they are,
with versions for both Block I and Block II LAS's
Motive power is going to come from surplus Peacekeeper ICBM
1st stage motors. Given the current lack of fins, no doubt the ATB
will use the stock Peacekeeper thrust vector system. The flight
control system will probably be based on the same modular system
that Orbital Sciences developed for their other programs. Orbital's
new Minotaur IV & V already uses Peacekeeper motors, so that
should be a slam-dunk.