NASA launches safety test for possible moon mission

 NASA launches safety test for possible moon mission

NASA said it successfully launched an abort test Tuesday for a rocket that would take astronauts back to the moon, moving ahead with the agency's plan to put Americans back on the moon in five years.

The Orion test spacecraft traveled to an altitude of about six miles during the three-minute test launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, according to NASA's announcement

NASA chose not to include parachutes in the test for the 7 a.m. demo, which NASA said lowered costs and saved time.

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The capsule crashed into the Atlantic Ocean at the end of the test. 

The test puts NASA "one huge step closer," to achieving its goal of putting astronauts back on the moon by 2024, said Mark Kirasich, Orion program manager at Johnson Space Center in Houston.

"Launching into space is one of the most difficult and dangerous parts of going to the Moon,” Kirasich said in a release. “This test mimicked some of the most challenging conditions Orion will ever face should an emergency develop during the ascent phase of flight."

The team is collecting the 12 data recorders ejected during the test capsule launch, and will analyze the information to provide insight into the abort mission's performance.