As early as 2015, the Ares 1 rocket, carrying the Orion crew capsule, could replace the space shuttle. With more than two and a half times the interior space of Apollo-era crew capsules, Orion can deliver a crew of six to the International Space Station and up to four astronauts to the moon. And if something goes wrong within the first 300,000 feet of the rocket's ascent, the Launch Abort System (LAS) will whisk the astronauts to safety.
1. Cut and Run
Step one: The abort motor fires and generates 400,000 pounds of thrust, shooting the Orion capsule up and away from the rocket, reaching 450 mph in less than three seconds. The hot gas from the engine is forced through a 155-degree turn in the motor's titanium manifold so that it exits through nozzles at the front of the motor, directed at an angle that keeps it from directly hitting the crew capsule. A fiberglass cover protects the capsule further.
2. Shake it Off
After the abort motor burns out, the LAS coasts, guided by the attitude-control motor. The engine's small nozzles, arranged in a ring around the LAS's tip, fire according to an autonomous flight computer to reorient and steady the spacecraft. The attitude-control motor is capable of spinning the LAS around in any direction—whatever it takes to get it upright and steady in preparation for the next step.
3. Glide Home
About five seconds after the LAS reaches the proper orientation, a third motor fires to pull the spent abort system away from the crew capsule; explosive bolts separate the two. Parachutes deploy in three stages from the capsule to slow its descent to Earth. Ideally, the capsule will land in the ocean. If it hits solid ground, the Orion capsule will crumple to absorb the blow, and the astronauts' shock-absorbing seats will keep them safe. Scared to death, but safe.
The only problem I have with this is the fact that if they had this on the shuttle challenger, it would not have helped them any at all. By the time anyone new anything, it was too late. No one knows whats going to happen until the thing goes bang, and I don't think a computer or senser is fast enough to detect a bang before it does go BANG!
Ya feel'n lucky punk?.......;0
The Shuttle is a real workhorse and no capsule is going to replace its capabilities. When it is retired, our capability will drop below acceptable levels.
I hope somewhere on the drawing boards is a Super-Aurora multi-seat craft with a hold large enough to go and repair the Hubble ST or bring it back to the Smithsonian.
I don't want space to belong only to the robots.
:-D Pay Attention!
I agree with the first comment. If things are going to go wrong, they are going to go wrong FAST!
One difference is that the shuttle is connected to the side of the fuel tank. It goes bang and well....unfortunately we've see what happens with that. With the new system, the capsule is out in front of the bang juice and hopefully can survive a bang behind them. Chinajon6, I couldn't agree more. I would love to see the Hubble brought back and put in the Smithsonian. I hate it that we won't have an SUV (Space Utility Vehicle) when the shuttle is retired. It's just not acceptable.
It would be nice to use this device for propulsion if it has not been needed for an escape. Space flight, like aircraft testing, is attractive enough for volunteers even with a fatality rate over 50%. The same money could save thousands of involuntary refugees, but they are not on TV.
This looks just like the system used in the Apollo missions. Pretty old technology isn't it? Is there anything novel about it?
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The year, 2015 will bring us into another new era. http://www.amerisleep.com/