United Launch Alliance (ULA) awarded a $1.8 million contract to Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne to help develop an Emergency Detection System for possible manned missions using ULA’s Atlas 5 and Delta 4 launch vehicles, the propulsion company announced May 7.

ULA is developing the Emergency Detection System under NASA’s Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program, which seeks to stimulate private sector development of human spaceflight capabilities. The system is intended to monitor critical launch vehicle and spaceflight systems, and to issue status, warning and abort information to the crew during missions. It would also trigger the launch abort system during an emergency to carry astronauts to safety, according to the news release.