NASA Launch Abort System
The biggest stride NASA has taken toward getting its next-generation space-travel program, Constellation, in the air has been this year's successful motor test of the Launch Abort System, which will fire in an emergency and yank the crew capsule up and away from the main rocket below.
The system will blow through 4,700 pounds of propellant in just three seconds, using attitude-control nozzles to keep the capsule upright as it blasts away from a failing rocket at more than 6,000 mph. The capsule and its crew will then descend gently back to Earth using a series of parachutes.
Too bad the USAF found that the system would not save the crew between Ignition and 1 minute into flight and since the first minute is likey to be when a Solid Rocket could fail....
if i'm looking at the graphics correctly, the crew will completly run out barf bags after that happens. eeeew.
Another armchair quarterback parroting what he's heard somewhere else...
The AF analysis being referred to is little more than a back-of-the-envelope quickie, with highly-overconservative assumptions regarding the fireball, and provably-incorrect assumptions regarding the trajectory of the abort vehicle.
And yes, it would be a wild ride... Yeee-Haw!
I am so proud of my son who is in the team that dreamed this thing up, pity there are some out there that can comment but not congratulate eh? As for not saving the astronauts, we could say that about wars, if the gun hadn't been invented where would we be now? Progress is all about trying to get it better
I suspect that the men and women who will be the astronauts have watched the progress of the LAS.While we can join in their hopes that the system will not have to ever be used, I'm quite sure they have conifdence in it and glad it is as good as it can be.
Packard Motor Car Company used the slogan:
"Ask the Man Who Owns One"
I'll wait to hear the astronauts take on it, too.
Meanwhile, kudos to the Orbital Team.
(Aw, shucks -- one of our children is on the team also)
NASA requirements for safety of the crew and public have guided the design of Orion’s Launch Abort System. The Pad Abort 1 flight test is the first in a series that will help verify that the system can provide a safe escape for astronauts in the event of a problem on the launch pad or during initial ascent. The current models of debris strike probability and heat flux have shown the probability of damage to Orion for the scenario discussed in a previous comment is approximately 1%. NASA and the USAF continue to work together to understand the debris threat to ensure the safety of the public and the crew. Kevin Rivers, NASA, Manager, Orion Launch Abort System Office
The difficulty I have is that so many people imply that the LAS makes Constellation "safe", while the shuttle is, after 130 flights, too dangerous.
We lost one crew on Apollo and nearly lost two more, and none of these were in circumstances where the LAS would have made any difference. It is only needed if a failure occurs while the SRB is firing; after that you can just shut down the booster. A LAS saved one Russian crew, but in another incident it went off prematurely, causing a fatal accident.
The problems that caused the losses of Challenger and Columbia have been corrected. Going to LEO in the Shuttle is certainly safer than going to the moon with Constellation. Is that too dangerous?
We don't have a LAS when we get on an airliner. If you need an escape rocket every time you launch, I'm not sure you have a system reliable enough to launch people.