Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne tested its launch abort engine it is developing for a spacecraft to take humans to the International Space Station.

The engine is designed to push the seven-person Crew Space Transportation-100 to safety in the event that an abort is necessary. The CST-100 is being built by Boeing for NASA’s Commercial Crew Development program.

The abort engine and orbital maneuvering and attitude thrusters for the CST-100 are designed and manufactured by Pratt & Whitney in Canoga Park.

The tests took place in the Mojave Desert and provided Pratt & Whitney with key thermal and analytical data, said Terry Lorier, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne’s Commercial Crew Development program manager.

“We are well on our way to providing an important propulsion system for safe, reliable human spaceflight,” Lorier said in a prepared statement.” The propulsion system’s recently-completed preliminary design review demonstrated our design approach meets all requirements and it confirmed we are ready to proceed with the detailed design.”

The CST-100 spacecraft made up of a crew module and service module is expected to be ready by 2015.

Mark R. Madler