Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

NASA to Test Emergency Ability of New Spacecraft

samzenpus posted more than 6 years ago | from the get-out-quick dept.

NASA 126

coondoggie writes "NASA this will show off the first mock up of its Orion space capsule ahead of the capsule's first emergency astronaut escape system test. NASA said it will jettison the full-size structural model off a simulated launch pad at the US Army's White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The launch escape vehicle sits atop the Orion capsule which is slated to be bolted on an Ares rocket. The escape vehicle is made up of three solid rocket motors as well as separation mechanisms and canards, and should offer the crew an escape capability in the event of an emergency during launch, according to NASA."

cancel ×

126 comments

Zonk the Hot Bottom ESCORT Dude! - m4m -29 (0, Offtopic)

SpaceWanderer (1181589) | more than 6 years ago | (#22660196)

Smooth, toned, 30 wasit, bubble butt, endowed, hot face, frisky, and alot of intense fun. availible now! immediate responses to all. so lets have fun already
SPECIAL!!!!!! $1000 for all orifaces!!TONITE ONLY !!!WOW!!!
Medical record will be provided
Location: Raddisson Hotel dt

Here our my pics [doiop.com] work wanring DUHH

                *Reply to: zonk@slashdot.org

Hopefully (5, Funny)

Corpuscavernosa (996139) | more than 6 years ago | (#22660254)

they'll have this whole thing ironed out for when that one guy has to go to Mars alone

Re:Hopefully (1)

s74ng3r (963541) | more than 6 years ago | (#22660370)

Somehow Im already starting to feel pity to whoever that guy will be.

Re:Hopefully (1)

theMerovingian (722983) | more than 6 years ago | (#22660372)


three solid rocket motors as well as separation mechanisms and canards

He won't be alone they are sending along some ducks for company.

One man, one way mssion to mars (4, Funny)

cizoozic (1196001) | more than 6 years ago | (#22660682)

He won't be alone they are sending along some ducks for company.
For god's sake I hope one of them is that Aflac duck - Either that or the guy is Gilbert Gottfried and they disable any proposed escape mechanisms.

Re:Hopefully (2, Funny)

tm2b (42473) | more than 6 years ago | (#22660714)

<Marx> Why a duck? Why-a-no chicken? </Marx>

Re:Hopefully (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22662308)

three solid rocket motors as well as separation mechanisms and canards
He won't be alone they are sending along some ducks for company
I think that's a typo, they must mean "canary". The thing doesn't look big enough for ducks!
>ducks<

It was Nasa's picture of the day [nasa.gov] yesterday.

Orion
A mock-up of the Orion space capsule heads to its temporary home in a hangar at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.

In late 2008, the full-size structural model will be jettisoned off a simulated launch pad at the U.S. Army's White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico to test the spacecraft's astronaut escape system, which will ensure a safe, reliable method of escape for astronauts in case of an emergency.

NASA's Constellation program is building the Orion crew vehicle to carry humans to the International Space Station by 2015 and to the moon beginning in 2020.

Image Credit: NASA/Sean Smith
Actually the thing looks pretty big compared to the Apollo capsules. They have one of those on display at the Kennedy Space Center, I'm not claustrophobic but I wouldn't want to be cooped up in one long enough to get to the moon.

-mcgrew

Re:Hopefully (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#22660548)

They kinda did, back in '62.

Lighting bolt + rollercoster at 88mph (1)

BobSixtyFour (967533) | more than 6 years ago | (#22662946)

First came the lighting tower - designed to "divert" lighting.
Now they're building an "emergency" rollercoster to "quickly" move people away.

Just add a flux capacitor and I think they're good to go.

Lightning Arrest system (1)

h.ross.perot (1050420) | more than 6 years ago | (#22663620)

Very interesting how that are adding a lightning arrest system. From description it looks like systems I have seen for smaller launch sites. Wonder why it took them so long to add one here? I for one do NOT what to meet our Electrically charged overlords ...

The real story... (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22660264)

The shuttle had no escape system.

Re:The real story... (2, Interesting)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 6 years ago | (#22660460)

The shuttle had no escape system.

But was it hubris, callousness, or bean counting? One from each column?

I'm somewhat embarrassed for NASA that they feel the need to press release this. It should be right up there with "NASA To Tighten All Screws On New Spacecraft". Of course you're going to do that.

Re:The real story... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22660962)

I'm somewhat embarrassed for NASA that they feel the need to press release this. It should be right up there with "NASA To Tighten All Screws On New Spacecraft". Of course you're going to do that.
There are people like me who are very interested in the development of this rocket. I don't really care that it embarrasses you that NASA is putting out press releases when major equipment tests take place. This is a vitally important component that has to work properly. It is not a trivial thing to pull a payload off of a rocket in subsonic, transonic, and supersonic conditions without destroying that payload (which in this case means astronauts). You are probably also going to be annoyed when NASA puts out press releases on the dummy solid rocket booster tests, the J-2X tests, the unmanned capsule tests, etc. If that bothers you then don't go to the NASA website and read the press releases. Just turn on the TV and watch SportsCenter or something.

Re:The real story... (4, Interesting)

ScottKin (34718) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661258)

Interestingly enough, early designs from North American Rockwell for the Shuttle included a crew escape system similar to what was going to be implemented in the North American Rockwell B-1A - which in itself was based on the F-111's Crew Escape Module, where the Crew Cabin / Cockpit blasts away from the rest of the vehicle using solid rocket motors. When the decision was made to use the area where the motors would have been for the extra crew seats and stowage, the whole escape system was scrapped. So much for hindsight.

--ScottKin

Re:The real story... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22661272)

So much for hindsight.
Would that have really made any difference? How much notice did the crew really have for the latest shuttle failures? A fraction of a second - if that - IIRC.

Re:The real story... (2, Interesting)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661714)

No. Columbia's crew, the one which blew up during launch (or was that Challenger?) was probably alive when it hit the ocean. Whether they were conscious is not public info, but they were alive for a while, based on evidence that some of them tried to put on oxygen bottles, IIRC. They could have used an escape pod.

Re:The real story... (2)

yotto (590067) | more than 6 years ago | (#22662186)

Not that I've ever put on an oxygen mask, but I suspect I'd find it difficult if I was unconscious.

Do you have a reference for this? I'm a mild space geek and I've never heard it before.

Re:The real story... (1)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 6 years ago | (#22662772)

No references, but there was a hullabaloo when NASA wouldn't release the voice recordings recovered from the wreckage, and there were reports of oxygen equipment out of its packing, which could only have been done by conscious humans, ie, not a result of being thrown around by a tumbling cabin.

Re:The real story... (1)

ThreeE (786934) | more than 6 years ago | (#22662952)

No references,...

You lost me there.

Re:The real story... (2, Interesting)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 6 years ago | (#22663312)

Do you have a reference for this? I'm a mild space geek and I've never heard it before.


Urban Legends [snopes.com] comments
Straight Dope [straightdope.com] comments
MSNBC [msn.com] comments.

All three sources say the same thing: 3 of the 4 air packs were activated which can only be done manually.

Re:The real story... (1)

ThreeE (786934) | more than 6 years ago | (#22664060)

Psst -- that's Challenger, not Columbia...

Re:The real story... (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 6 years ago | (#22664474)

If you look at the original poster, Anonymous Coward (not a real AC), they specifically said:


No. Columbia's crew, the one which blew up during launch (or was that Challenger?) was probably alive when it hit the ocean. Whether they were conscious is not public info, but they were alive for a while, based on evidence that some of them tried to put on oxygen bottles, IIRC. They could have used an escape pod.

Therefore, they are referring to Challenger as it was the one that exploded during launch and its pieces fell into the ocean. My links are correct. If the secondary poster meant Columbia, here is info on that disaster:

Spaceflight Now [spaceflightnow.com]
MSNBC [msn.com]
New York Times [nytimes.com]

Either way, in both cases, the astronauts knew something was wrong and they were alive for a time after the initial explosion and breakup of both Challenger and Columbia.

Re:The real story... (1)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 6 years ago | (#22664516)

Thank you.

Re:The real story... (1)

Keebler71 (520908) | more than 6 years ago | (#22665142)

Hindsight isn't 20/20 here... the escape pod considered would probably have been too heavy to allow any meaningful payloads to get to orbit and would have forced crew size down to 2-4 people. Nevermind the fact that it never went beyond the feasibility stage so we don't even know if it would have worked.

Re:The real story... (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661308)

But was it hubris, callousness, or bean counting? One from each column?

Well, no. The Shuttle is a lot heavier than the Orion capsule. The escape system described here is designed to pull the little capsule away from the booster quickly. In the case of the shuttle, the whole thing is way to big for that.

However, in the shuttle, it is a -lot- roomier than the Orion is on the inside. The shuttle is basically a re-usable station. The orion, on the other hand, is basic transportation. Think, inside of 737 for six astronauts, versus, inside of VW Beetle, for 4.

Re:The real story... (1)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661724)

The shuttle's cabin is nowhere near 737 size. More like a six or eight seat business jet.

Re:The real story... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22661858)

You must not fly very often. I'd gladly take the spacious business jet cabin over the 737 cattle train.

Remember, size isn't everything. It's how you make the most of what you got. Ladies, tell 'em.

Re:The real story... (1)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 6 years ago | (#22662800)

You must not fly very often. Putting 8 crew in an entire 737 isn't exactly a cattle train.

Remember, size isn't everything. Packing density is the real figure of interest.

Re:The real story... (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 6 years ago | (#22662550)

The shuttle's cabin is nowhere near 737 size. More like a six or eight seat business jet.

That cargo bay is pretty roomy though, and it can be closed and pressurized, if the astronauts feel a need to do jumping jacks in orbit, and what not.

Re:The real story... (1)

ThreeE (786934) | more than 6 years ago | (#22663038)

and it can be closed and pressurized

I'd love for you to tell me where you heard this...

Re:The real story... (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 6 years ago | (#22663560)

I'd love for you to tell me where you heard this..

You and me both. I got that impression from some Rockwell literature (that I still have) from the late 1970s. Best I can find on the internet are some plans about that kind of thing that were aborted since the Challenger. The Air Force conception was that the astronauts would bring a satellite into the cargo bay, close the doors, pressurize it, work on it, then send it back out into space. But, satellites got more reliable, the Challenger blew up, and those ideas all sorta went by the wayside. Plus, when they do work on stuff in space, they just wear the space suits and go for it.

Re:The real story... (1)

ThreeE (786934) | more than 6 years ago | (#22663670)

Nothing remotely like this was considered in anything like the Challenger timeframe (1986) -- or anytime after the Shuttle's CDR -- which was well before the "late 1970s."

Re:The real story... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22661440)

But was it hubris, callousness, or bean counting? One from each column?
I'd vote for to minimise the total mass, which would help reduce the risk of failure in the first place, rather than fit a heavy, explosive system the crew likely don't have time to use anyway in event of catastrophe if they're not already dead.

Re:The real story... (1)

SacredByte (1122105) | more than 6 years ago | (#22660490)

Yes it did -- It just didn't improve the user's odds of survival.

Re:The real story... (3, Informative)

Saberwind (50430) | more than 6 years ago | (#22660530)

Columbia originally had ejection seats for the Commander and Pilot for the first few flights. After crews exceeded two people, however, they replaced the seats with normal ones because it wouldn't be fair for only two of the crew to be able to eject while the rest perished.

Re:The real story... (3, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661064)

The shuttle had no escape system.

The shuttle should have been an evolution from Apollo. Make the orbiter a stretched, winged service module. Install a hatch in the command module heat shield (this was trialled for the Gemini wet lab). For launch and landing pack the crew into the CM using the rescue mode layout. During launch use a launch escape system. This will get you past the Challenger failure mode. During reentry the LES won't be there but you can use the reaction control system to achieve separation.

Re:The real story... (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661112)

Or just send people and cargo in different vehicles.. not only do you save yourself the trouble of man-rating a beast like the Saturn V but you also learn to say no to the committees that want to make your vehicle everything for everyone.

Re:The real story... (1)

ubrgeek (679399) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661816)

I vaguely recall an episode of Robotech where one of the lead female characters was flying somewhere in (what I think was) a military jet. As the "camera" pulled back, it showed her in a curved, almost bubble seat that appeared to be made of thick metal and had a "lid" resting in an up position. It looked like it was an escape pod, where in an emergency the top of the seat would fold down, sealing the bubble. I assume the intent would have been for the sealed unit to be ejected. I always thought that was a neat concept. No idea if it's feasible, but it certainly seemed to make sense.

Re:The real story... (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661930)

I'm reading a book at the moment about the Shuttle-Mir program. Along with all the other crazy shit the Russians did, one of the stupidest, I think, was trying to dock the Progress with the station using only dead reckoning and, when it works, a camera *on the progress*. I'm reading this book wondering why they don't have 30 CCD cameras scattered around the outside of the station and some system for selecting 4 or 5 of them to output to monitors simultaneously. Then I remember that it is 1992 and a Russian station.. their CCD cameras, rated for space, probably cost a million each.

These days, if you were building a space station, I wouldn't even recommend putting windows on it. There's no need to mess with the structural integrity when you can get perfectly good visual feedback from a bunch of cheap cameras and a flat panel monitor.

Re:The real story... (1)

cpotoso (606303) | more than 6 years ago | (#22663698)

Or just send people and cargo in different vehicles.. not only do you save yourself the trouble of man-rating a beast like the Saturn V but you also learn to say no to the committees that want to make your vehicle everything for everyone.

And then kiss your funding good-bye...

Re:The real story... (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 6 years ago | (#22662430)

I thought I remember reading somewhere that if something went wrong with the shuttle while it was still on the ground, the explosion would be equal to a small nuclear bomb. Unless the excape system moved you a mile away in a matter of seconds I don't think it would do much good.

Re:The real story... (1)

nizo (81281) | more than 6 years ago | (#22663098)

Considering the likelihood that any escape system designed by the same people who made the shuttle would probably malfunction and jettison the astronauts accidentally, this is a good thing.

It's 1963 all over again! (5, Insightful)

BadEvilYoda (935532) | more than 6 years ago | (#22660282)

http://history.nasa.gov/SP-4205/app-c.html#section2 [nasa.gov] Ah, Saturn V... good times. Glad we've once again remembered it's a better idea to have the astronauts at the TOP of the stack rather than stuck to the SIDE of the stack.

Re:It's 1963 all over again! (2, Insightful)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 6 years ago | (#22660416)

Glad we've once again remembered it's a better idea to have the astronauts at the TOP of the stack rather than stuck to the SIDE of the stack.

On the side wouldn't have been so bad if it would have been in a vehicle with emergency escape capability. After all "The US Space Shuttle has a lower failure rate (1.6%) than the other launchers. The failure rates range from 5% for the Russian R-7 Soyuz and European Ariane 1-4 to 14% for the US Atlas." [futurepundit.com] Perhaps in this round of launch design we can manage to cut the accident rate to one third again. A 0.53% failure rate isn't bad considering what is being attempted, but with (hopefully only) a 1 in 200 chance of disaster, an escape plan is always a good idea.

Re:It's 1963 all over again! (3, Interesting)

SacredByte (1122105) | more than 6 years ago | (#22660562)

The thing you overlook in declaring the shuttle "safer" than previous launch/re-entry vehicles is this:

When we built the previous generations of spacecraft we didn't know WTF we were doing -- Especially with the earliest attempts (made by the US) after the launch of Sputnik; We were trying to get something up fast, not something up safely.

The shuttle has been a compromise since its very inception. It was designed to be able to intercept/capture (as well as launch) satalites. Because of this, it doesn't really go up high enough to be [extremely] useful. Additionally, when we look at the first major shuttle disaster (challenger?), it was due to thermal failure of critical parts (Read: not designed to launch when it was cold out), which lead to nice fireworks.

But then again, my grandfather worked on [pieces of] most of the early space programs (he worked for G.E.), so my opinion is clearly biased...

Re:It's 1963 all over again! (4, Insightful)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 6 years ago | (#22660634)

BS. Using misleading statistics to prove a point does not prove a point. The Soyuz has a lower fatality rate than the Shuttle and that's going back to the 60s. It has a flawless fatality record for longer than the shuttle has even existed. Unlike the shuttle failures for it (well launch.re-entry ones) are far from fatal and even then it has a lower failure rate if you don't count the pre-shuttle era I think.

Now consider that the Soyuz is likely flown/managed by people whose attention to safety would give NASA managers heart attacks and just how much of a fuck up the shuttle is become evident.

Re:It's 1963 all over again! (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#22660756)

and how many flights did the soyuz have vs the shuttle?

thought so.

Re:It's 1963 all over again! (1)

putaro (235078) | more than 6 years ago | (#22660888)

Soyuz is still flying! How do you think those tourist guys get to the space station? Hint - NASA doesn't sell things.

A quick look at Wikipedia shows there have been 98 manned Soyuz missions to date and 121 Shuttle missions. Additionally, you could include the Progress missions which have been used to supply both Mir and the ISS - Progress is an unmanned spacecraft based on the Soyuz design. There have been 114 Progress flights.

Re:It's 1963 all over again! (1)

ThreeE (786934) | more than 6 years ago | (#22663948)

Remember that you have to fly the Soyuz 2-3 times to get the same number of crew up/down -- and a hell of a lot more to get the same cargo up -- and even more to get the same cargo down as the Shuttle. All of this results in a significantly reduced reliability compared to the Shuttle.

Re:It's 1963 all over again! (1)

johno.ie (102073) | more than 6 years ago | (#22665162)

And don't forget you have to launch 8-9 Soyuz rockets to waste as much money as 1 shuttle flight. :)

johno

Re:It's 1963 all over again! (3, Informative)

johno.ie (102073) | more than 6 years ago | (#22660894)

The Soyuz rocket has been launched over 1700 times, according to this wikipedia page [wikipedia.org] . I don't think that's completely accurate, I think that's counting the R-7 and all its derivatives. About half of that number would be my guess for the current Soyuz design.

There have been a few variations of the Soyuz manned spacecraft as technology has improved. The current version can support a 3 person crew for 30 days. When docked to a space station it can survive for 6 months in space and safely re-enter with a crew. The 98th manned Soyuz was launched in October last year. There have been 2 flights where the crew died, the very first flight when 1 cosmonaut died, and a flight in 1971 when 3 cosmonauts died. AFAIK there hasn't been a fatality on a Soyuz mission in almost 37 years.

Not counting Enterprise, because it never went to space, the shuttles have flown 121 times. There have been 2 fatal flights with 7 people killed each time. Counting Apollo 1 NASA have lost 17 astronauts in it's history but still haven't had anyone killed in space.

johno

Re:It's 1963 all over again! (2, Informative)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 6 years ago | (#22662232)

The last Soyuz failure occurred in 1983 when the rocket exploded on the pad with the crew inside.

It might be a good point to note here that the crew all survived.

In 1975, Soyuz 18a aborted its launch before reaching orbit due to a major booster malfunction. The Launch-Escape-System automatically triggered when the rocket left what was considered a "safe" trajectory, and the crew also survived.

Soyuz capsules have also survived landings in virtually every sort of terrain known to man. Although subsequent revisions have made the spacecraft's landing precision considerably better, the ability to land *anywhere* is a very nice fallback to have if an abort is necessary.

The last Soyuz known fatalities occurred in 1971.

Soviet attitude to safety (3, Interesting)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 6 years ago | (#22662432)

It may come as a surprise, but the attitude to things like crew safety in the old USSR was actually pretty good. In WW2 Stalin executed his head of the Air Force for attacking the safety of Soviet aircraft, but Stalin was a monster and his successors weren't. Spaceflight was post-Stalin, you know. Kruschev, whatever his faults, was probably no worse as a human being than Kennedy.

People who have investigated the ejector seats on Soviet military aircraft have commented that in some ways they were better than ones used on many NATO planes,and the armor on Soviet helicopters was truly impressive. After all, who do you think worked on the Soviet space and military aircraft programs? Hint: they weren't heroic Stakhanovite peasants. They were the sons and daughters of Party members, the people who were on top in the Soviet Union. And middle class people are notorious for caring an awful lot what happens to their children.

So I guess what I am saying is, there is no a priori reason for believing that the US and USSR attitude to space flight safety was significantly different, but, as Arthur Clarke once commented, the Russians preferred to go with solid, proven, perhaps over-engineered systems even if they were bigger and heavier.

Re:Soviet attitude to safety (1)

Bruiser80 (1179083) | more than 6 years ago | (#22662778)

That was always my take on soviet tech - built like a tank. A few examples: A late-model Russian fighter jet has A LOT of titanium (Russia has a lot of mine-able titanium). Taking a bird into its turbine will not cause a failure. One of my professors did freelance FEA work for NASA. One of his jobs was analyzing the Shuttle's collision with the MIR space station. He had accelerometer data from many positions. He concluded no damage from the strike.

Re:It's 1963 all over again! (1)

GreggBz (777373) | more than 6 years ago | (#22662496)

And you are using some opinion to back your point.

Now consider that the Soyuz is likely flown/managed by people whose attention to safety would give NASA managers heart attacks and just how much of a fuck up the shuttle is become evident.

You don't [wikipedia.org] know anything about the history [russianspaceweb.com] of the Russian space program, do you? Oh, and this [wikipedia.org] , which killed 48 people. It's hard to find stuff on it though, because it was at the height of the cold war, and the USSR kept it secret.

Further, It's apples and oranges. The Soyuz and the shuttle are far far different. A Soyuz vehicle nearly fits in the shuttles cargo bay. Making just a big giant Soyuz won't necessarily be safer by default. I'm sure there's a bit more to it then that. Certainly we learned from the shuttle and it's far from perfect, but don't assume the Soyuz is a better design, because it's not designed for nearly the same purpose.

I believe that both sides take safety very seriously. What you said was an insult. We've all had enough fatalities.

Re:It's 1963 all over again! (1)

GreggBz (777373) | more than 6 years ago | (#22663020)

Since I can't read, I completely mis-understood 50% of your post. The point about the Soyuz and Shuttle being so different.. that still bugs me but that's a rebuttal to the overall discussion.

Re:It's 1963 all over again! (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 6 years ago | (#22664574)

You don't know anything about the history of the Russian space program, do you? Oh, and this, which killed 48 people. It's hard to find stuff on it though, because it was at the height of the cold war, and the USSR kept it secret.
I know the history and that was my point, if the soviets were flying the shuttle there'd be no left.

Making just a big giant Soyuz won't necessarily be safer by default.
Of course it won't but why would you even do that, the shuttle is a abysmal attempt at a jack of all trades and that's my point.

Certainly we learned from the shuttle and it's far from perfect, but don't assume the Soyuz is a better design, because it's not designed for nearly the same purpose.
No they are used for essentially the same main goal, to get humans into space. The original shuttle design was a lot smaller and it's only goal was to get people into space. The shuttle can do some other things as well and it's as a result worse at getting people into space and everything else as well. A Saturn V can get more mass into space than a shuttle. So a shuttle isn't even that great of a way of getting mass into space. A russian rocket can get satellites into space for a 5th the cost of the shuttle so the shuttle isn't inexpensive.

And guess what, the next vehicle NASA is building will be a lot closer to the Soyuz than it is to the shuttle.

Re:It's 1963 all over again! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22664184)

Flawless fatality record? Vladimir Komarov might like to have a word with you.

Re:It's 1963 all over again! (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 6 years ago | (#22664244)

BS. Using misleading statistics to prove a point does not prove a point. The Soyuz has a lower fatality rate than the Shuttle and that's going back to the 60s.

Ok, quote some valid and non misleading statistics then. Otherwise, you're making an emotional argument rather than an engineering one.
 
 

It has a flawless fatality record for longer than the shuttle has even existed.

There is far more to safety than simply fatalities. The simple fact is, Soyuz has a long record of near fatal accidents and serious incidents. (Many people are unaware of this because they happened back before the Wall came down and never made the Western press. See this page [jamesoberg.com] for more information.) Just as a single example - out of the last ten odd flight, the main flight control computer has crashed during re-entry four times.
 
 

Now consider that the Soyuz is likely flown/managed by people whose attention to safety would give NASA managers heart attacks and just how much of a fuck up the shuttle is become evident.

Four major computer failures in the span of a few years - yeah, these are guys who pay attention to safety.

Re:It's 1963 all over again! (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 6 years ago | (#22664494)

Four major computer failures in the span of a few years - yeah, these are guys who pay attention to safety.
That's my point, if the soviets were flying the shuttle there'd be no left. I mean the Soyuz once reentered the atmosphere upside down still attached to it's orbital module... and no one was killed in the end.

Re:It's 1963 all over again! (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661136)

Rockets used for cargo routinely have a higher failure rate than rockets used for manned spaceflight. And the article you quote is misleading in a number of ways. For example, the Atlas V (not the entire Atlas program which has a failure rate around 2%) is a new design with some failures in the begining. Similar thing for the Ariane 5. Both vehicles have a better safety record now. And the manned Soyuz has a failure rate around 2% with both accidents occuring by the early 70's (and the 7th launch IIRC) and an unbroken stretch of flights (around 80-90 last I heard) since then.

The real safety significance of having the shuttle on the side is two things, first it is closer to the propellant in both the SRBs and the main tank. That means there're a somewhat smaller chance for astronauts to survive a launch failure even with an escape mechanism (or more accurately increased the cost and weight of the system that would yield equivalent survival rates). That reduced likelihood of survival would have influenced NASA's decision not to include a post-launch escape system. Second, ice strikes, which were the cause of the Columbia disaster, happen with a side mounted vehicle.

Another thing to consider is that NASA has a poor safety record with infrequently launched vehicles. Even if the Ares I is successfully designed to meet the ridiculous safety estimates of the ESAS report (something like a 1 in 2000 chance of loss of crew), we still have to consider how NASA culture (or for that matter *amy* bureaucratic culture) will compromise that. Frankly, I think 1 in 100 is much more likely due to the low launch frequency of the Ares 1 (something like 4 launches per year, maybe a little more). In other words, it'll be in line with Shuttle failure rates. If the Ares 1 were launched at a much higher rate (say 50 launches a year), then yes, I could see NASA attaining a 1 in 2000 record over time. Feedback is important and a low flight rate doesn't give the NASA bureaucracy enough feedback to support these extraordinary safety goals.

Re:It's 1963 all over again! (1)

maGiC_RS (946022) | more than 6 years ago | (#22660428)

Glad we've once again remembered it's a better idea to have the astronauts at the TOP of the stack rather than stuck to the SIDE of the stack.
Actually, the shuttle concept would be a whole lot safer if they could have ejection seats for all crew mombers and worked out the return-to-launch-site abort. Sitting on top of several thousand tons of highly explosive material, which I can be saved from by several hundreds of kilos of explosive material above me in the event something goes wrong, on the other hand, doesn't really appeal to me.

Re:It's 1963 all over again! (1)

Bobb9000 (796960) | more than 6 years ago | (#22660640)

The shuttle would be somewhat safer with ejection seats, but the rocket-based launch escape system the article's talking about really is a better option. Ejection seats wouldn't do a whole lot of good if there was a failure on the launch pad, and you'd really need some kind of ejection pod system for bailing at high speed and altitude, which would add a lot of weight, complexity, and possible points of failure. As for the existing return to launch site abort plan, as well as the other various abort plans, what's wrong with them? Other than requiring a generally intact shuttle, that is. Anyway, Orion's planned abort system gets around all those problems. While I don't necessarily agree with the whole Constellation plan, putting the crew on top of the stack is a good choice.

WTF (1)

William Robinson (875390) | more than 6 years ago | (#22660404)

All they needed to think was couple of parachutes....oh wait..

+5 Insightful (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22660432)

Send a nigger. Nobody gives a fuck about another dead ape.

Re:+5 Insightful (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22660532)

The nigger would just try and steal the spacecraft.

Re:+5 Insightful (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22660626)

Apes must be preserved, you insensitive clod!

Project Orion? (4, Insightful)

arodland (127775) | more than 6 years ago | (#22660478)

Somewhat offtopic, but I still don't think you should name any space project "Orion" unless it involves nuclear propulsion! It's... misleading.

It's all misleading (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 6 years ago | (#22660744)

Perhaps a little off topic, but why are US space programs named after Greek mythology? It's not like it is appropriate. Apollo, Nike-Zeus, Atlas,Orion, Ares - what was wrong with names like Redstone, Columbia etc.?

Re:It's all misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22660954)

they should call it the crazy bronco, cos it gonna be one son o' bitch to ride, YEEEHHAWW!!

Re:It's all misleading (1)

Aglassis (10161) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661104)

You've got to name it something. I prefer Greek or Roman mythology over placenames (Redstone), conceptual names (Endeavour, Opportunity, Discovery), or quasi-patriotic names (like Colombia). The Western world has a special attachment to the Greeks and Romans for our view of the cosmos. It is only appropriate that we pay tribute in some form or another. I should also note that I wouldn't be opposed to using some of the ancient Egyptian or Babylonian mythology either.

Ok, and now for some completely unsupported conjecturing: perhaps Trekkies like the conceptual names (Enterprise, Defiant), Star Wars fans like the quasi-patriotic names (Millenium Falcon, Executioner, Death Star), and BSG fans like the quasi-mythological names (Pegasus, Olympic Carrier).

Re:It's all misleading (1)

RevWaldo (1186281) | more than 6 years ago | (#22663252)

I was just thinking that - all these pagan names! This is a Christian nation after all. "The Mary Magdalene achieved orbit around Mars today, while the Nicodemus lander safely touched down on Utopia Planitia.."

Re:It's all misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22663704)

Why are the planets, moons, and most stars named after Greek gods/mythical figures? Sometimes the continuity of occidental civilization trumps jingoistic patriotism, bubba.

Re:Project Orion? (1)

kvezach (1199717) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661250)

Hush, you can't go and say Nuclear like that! It's External Pulsed Plasma Propulsion [nextbigfuture.com] , natch.

Photos of Orion space capsule (-1, Troll)

SpaceWanderer (1181589) | more than 6 years ago | (#22660572)

As an intern, mechanical engineering, I have worked with the Orion space capsule design. I've got pics on my myspace site. [dwarfurl.com] Sorry for the shortened url.

Cut em up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22660690)

Life in this society being, at best, an utter bore and no aspect of society being at all relevant to women, there remains to civic-minded, responsible, thrill-seeking females only to overthrow the government, eliminate the money system, institute complete automation and destroy the male sex.

It is now technically feasible to reproduce without the aid of males (or, for that matter, females) and to produce only females. We must begin immediately to do so. Retaining the mail has not even the dubious purpose of reproduction. The male is a biological accident: the Y (male) gene is an incomplete X (female) gene, that is, it has an incomplete set of chromosomes. In other words, the male is an incomplete female, a walking abortion, aborted at the gene stage. To be male is to be deficient, emotionally limited; maleness is a deficiency disease and males are emotional cripples.

The male is completely egocentric, trapped inside himself, incapable of empathizing or identifying with others, or love, friendship, affection of tenderness. He is a completely isolated unit, incapable of rapport with anyone. His responses are entirely visceral, not cerebral; his intelligence is a mere tool in the services of his drives and needs; he is incapable of mental passion, mental interaction; he can't relate to anything other than his own physical sensations. He is a half-dead, unresponsive lump, incapable of giving or receiving pleasure or happiness; consequently, he is at best an utter bore, an inoffensive blob, since only those capable of absorption in others can be charming. He is trapped in a twilight zone halfway between humans and apes, and is far worse off than the apes because, unlike the apes, he is capable of a large array of negative feelings -- hate, jealousy, contempt, disgust, guilt, shame, doubt -- and moreover, he is aware of what he is and what he isn't.

Although completely physical, the male is unfit even for stud service. Even assuming mechanical proficiency, which few men have, he is, first of all, incapable of zestfully, lustfully, tearing off a piece, but instead is eaten up with guilt, shame, fear and insecurity, feelings rooted in male nature, which the most enlightened training can only minimize; second, the physical feeling he attains is next to nothing; and third, he is not empathizing with his partner, but is obsessed with how he's doing, turning in an A performance, doing a good plumbing job. To call a man an animal is to flatter him; he's a machine, a walking dildo. It's often said that men use women. Use them for what? Surely not pleasure.

Eaten up with guilt, shame, fears and insecurities and obtaining, if he's lucky, a barely perceptible physical feeling, the male is, nonetheless, obsessed with screwing; he'll swim through a river of snot, wade nostril-deep through a mile of vomit, if he thinks there'll be a friendly pussy awaiting him. He'll screw a woman he despises, any snaggle-toothed hag, and furthermore, pay for the opportunity. Why? Relieving physical tension isn't the answer, as masturbation suffices for that. It's not ego satisfaction; that doesn't explain screwing corpses and babies.

Completely egocentric, unable to relate, empathize or identify, and filled with a vast, pervasive, diffuse sexuality, the male is pyschically passive. He hates his passivity, so he projects it onto women, defines the make as active, then sets out to prove that he is (`prove that he is a Man'). His main means of attempting to prove it is screwing (Big Man with a Big Dick tearing off a Big Piece). Since he's attempting to prove an error, he must `prove' it again and again. Screwing, then, is a desperate compulsive, attempt to prove he's not passive, not a woman; but he is passive and does want to be a woman.

Being an incomplete female, the male spends his life attempting to complete himself, to become female. He attempts to do this by constantly seeking out, fraternizing with and trying to live through an fuse with the female, and by claiming as his own all female characteristics -- emotional strength and independence, forcefulness, dynamism, decisiveness, coolness, objectivity, assertiveness, courage, integrity, vitality, intensity, depth of character, grooviness, etc -- and projecting onto women all male traits -- vanity, frivolity, triviality, weakness, etc. It should be said, though, that the male has one glaring area of superiority over the female -- public relations. (He has done a brilliant job of convincing millions of women that men are women and women are men). The male claim that females find fulfillment through motherhood and sexuality reflects what males think they'd find fulfilling if they were female.

Women, in other words, don't have penis envy; men have pussy envy. When the male accepts his passivity, defines himself as a woman (males as well as females thing men are women and women are men), and becomes a transvestite he loses his desire to screw (or to do anything else, for that matter; he fulfills himself as a drag queen) and gets his dick chopped off. He then achieves a continuous diffuse sexual feeling from `being a woman'. Screwing is, for a man, a defense against his desire to be female. He is responsible for:

War: The male's normal compensation for not being female, namely, getting his Big Gun off, is grossly inadequate, as he can get it off only a very limited number of times; so he gets it off on a really massive scale, and proves to the entire world that he's a `Man'. Since he has no compassion or ability to empathize or identify, proving his manhood is worth an endless amount of mutilation and suffering and an endless number of lives, including his own -- his own life being worthless, he would rather go out in a blaze of glory than to plod grimly on for fifty more years.

Niceness, Politeness, and `Dignity': Every man, deep down, knows he's a worthless piece of shit. Overwhelmed by a sense of animalism and deeply ashamed of it; wanting, not to express himself, but to hide from others his total physicality, total egocentricity, the hate and contempt he feels for other men, and to hide from himself the hate and contempt he suspects other men feel for him; having a crudely constructed nervous system that is easily upset by the least display of emotion or feeling, the male tries to enforce a `social' code that ensures perfect blandness, unsullied by the slightest trace or feeling or upsetting opinion. He uses terms like `copulate', `sexual congress', `have relations with' (to men sexual relations is a redundancy), overlaid with stilted manners; the suit on the chimp.

Money, Marriage and Prostitution, Work and Prevention of an Automated Society: There is no human reason for money or for anyone to work more than two or three hours a week at the very most. All non-creative jobs (practically all jobs now being done) could have been automated long ago, and in a moneyless society everyone can have as much of the best of everything as she wants. But there are non-human, male reasons for wanting to maintain the money system:

1. Pussy. Despising his highly inadequate self, overcome with intense anxiety and a deep, profound loneliness when by his empty self, desperate to attach himself to any female in dim hopes of completing himself, in the mystical belief that by touching gold he'll turn to gold, the male craves the continuous companionship of women. The company of the lowest female is preferable to his own or that of other men, who serve only to remind him of his repulsiveness. But females, unless very young or very sick, must be coerced or bribed into male company.

2. Supply the non-relating male with the delusion of usefulness, and enable him to try to justify his existence by digging holes and then filling them up. Leisure time horrifies the male, who will have nothing to do but contemplate his grotesque self. Unable to relate or to love, the male must work. Females crave absorbing, emotionally satisfying, meaningful activity, but lacking the opportunity or ability for this, they prefer to idle and waste away their time in ways of their own choosing -- sleeping, shopping, bowling, shooting pool, playing cards and other games, breeding, reading, walking around, daydreaming, eating, playing with themselves, popping pills, going to the movies, getting analyzed, traveling, raising dogs and cats, lolling about on the beach, swimming, watching TV, listening to music, decorating their houses, gardening, sewing, nightclubbing, dancing, visiting, `improving their minds' (taking courses), and absorbing `culture' (lectures, plays, concerts, `arty' movies). Therefore, many females would, even assuming complete economic equality between the sexes, prefer living with males or peddling their asses on the street, thus having most of their time for themselves, to spending many hours of their days doing boring, stultifying, non-creative work for someone else, functioning as less than animals, as machines, or, at best -- if able to get a `good' job -- co-managing the shitpile. What will liberate women, therefore, from male control is the total elimination of the money-work system, not the attainment of economic equality with men within it.

3. Power and control. Unmasterful in his personal relations with women, the male attains to masterfulness by the manipulation of money and everything controlled by money, in other words, of everything and everybody.

4. Love substitute. Unable to give love or affection, the male gives money. It makes him feel motherly. The mother gives milk; he gives bread. He is the Breadwinner.

5. Provide the male with a goal. Incapable of enjoying the moment, the male needs something to look forward to, and money provides him with an eternal, never-ending goal: Just think of what you could do with 80 trillion dollars -- invest it! And in three years time you'd have 300 trillion dollars!!!

6. Provide the basis for the male's major opportunity to control and manipulate -- fatherhood.

Fatherhood and Mental Illness (fear, cowardice, timidity, humility, insecurity, passivity): Mother wants what's best for her kids; Daddy only wants what's best for Daddy, that is peace and quiet, pandering to his delusion of dignity (`respect'), a good reflection on himself (status) and the opportunity to control and manipulate, or, if he's an `enlightened' father, to `give guidance'. His daughter, in addition, he wants sexually -- he givers her hand in marriage; the other part is for him. Daddy, unlike Mother, can never give in to his kids, as he must, at all costs, preserve his delusion of decisiveness, forcefulness, always-rightness and strength. Never getting one's way leads to lack of self-confidence in one's ability to cope with the world and to a passive acceptance of the status quo. Mother loves her kids, although she sometimes gets angry, but anger blows over quickly and even while it exists, doesn't preclude love and basic acceptance. Emotionally diseased Daddy doesn't love his kids; he approves of them -- if they're `good', that is, if they're nice, `respectful', obedient, subservient to his will, quiet and not given to unseemly displays of temper that would be most upsetting to Daddy's easily disturbed male nervous system -- in other words, if they're passive vegetables. If they're not `good', he doesn't get angry -- not if he's a modern, `civilized' father (the old-fashioned ranting, raving brute is preferable, as he is so ridiculous he can be easily despised) -- but rather express disapproval, a state that, unlike anger, endures and precludes a basic acceptance, leaving the kid with the feeling of worthlessness and a lifelong obsession wit being approved of; the result is fear of independent thought, as this leads to unconventional, disapproved of opinions and way of life.

do what now? (2, Insightful)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#22660716)

Excuse me? During launch? They're supposed to get into an emergency capsule if something goes wrong during launch? Okay let's just ignore the whole idea of how fast they'd have to be and say they're really, really fast astronauts...how the hell is anyone going to get up out of their seat and into a capsule while they're pulling what like 7 Gs? I'd like to see someone even lift their arm up let alone get up.

Re:do what now? (4, Informative)

Bobb9000 (796960) | more than 6 years ago | (#22660798)

The summary doesn't describe the system itself very well - if that was how it worked I'd agree it'd be idiotic. The "vehicle" the summary mentions is actually just a separate rocket engine attached to the nose of the capsule. If something goes wrong, the astronauts don't have to go anywhere; the bolts holding the capsule onto the main Ares launch vehicle blow, and the escape rocket fires, lifting the entire Orion capsule off the Ares rocket and high enough into the air to get clear of the launch pad and any unpleasant explosions. Then the escape rocket separates from the capsule, while the capsule is hopefully high enough to land softly by parachute. For more info (and pictures), see here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Launch_escape_system [wikipedia.org] and here: http://www.astronautix.com/craft/orionlas.htm [astronautix.com] .

Re:do what now? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661110)

If something goes wrong, the astronauts don't have to go anywhere; the bolts holding the capsule onto the main Ares launch vehicle blow, and the escape rocket fires, lifting the entire Orion capsule off the Ares rocket and high enough into the air to get clear of the launch pad and any unpleasant explosions.

Most of the thrust from the LES is needed to get the capsule high enough to land by parachute. Normal RCS thrusters could do the job with less mass overhead if you assume that the capsule will normally land by rocket power.

Re:do what now? (1)

Bobb9000 (796960) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661222)

I suppose that makes some sense, though I wouldn't have thought that the RCS motors would be able to get the capsule far enough fast enough. Regarding landing by rocket power, though, I thought that while there is a debate between airbags or retrorockets, either one is used in conjunction with the parachute system. The retrorockets would be designed to slow down a parachute-assisted landing, which would be IIRC around 18 mph. You're going to end up going much faster than that from a ~350 foot fall, which is the minimum we'd be talking about. Carrying enough fuel inside the capsule to provide that much delta-v seems impractical, especially for a purely emergency purpose. It seems like you'd also be looking at significant stabilization issues trying to keep the capsule from tumbling, which the RCS motors wouldn't have a lot of time to fix.

Re:do what now? (1)

Keebler71 (520908) | more than 6 years ago | (#22665246)

You are correct - the launch abort system is a rocket package that pulls the crew capsule away from the hazard during a pad abort or abort early during the ascent. This is the same abort concept used for Mercury, Apollo and Soyuz (interestingly Gemini had ejection seats).

Re:do what now? (1)

rampant poodle (258173) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661280)

It appears to be a super sized version of the system used in the Mercury/Gemini/Apollo days. The astronauts are already in the "escape capsule". Three rocket motors lift the capsule to an altitude that will allow safe parachute deployment. Capsule and contents drift down and land more or less safely.

Re:do what now? (4, Informative)

darkmeridian (119044) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661952)

The astronauts are seated in the capsule during launch. The emergency system is basically a rocket on top of the capsule. If there is an emergency, the rocket fires and pulls the capsule away from the stack.

Re:do what now? (3, Informative)

codepunk (167897) | more than 6 years ago | (#22662042)

You went to college didn't you? It shows!

It is the same sort of escape system attached to the top of the
capsule as the soyuz spacecraft has. If you do some searching it
is a tried and proved emergency escape system. Look for Soyuz T-10,
a fire on the pad occurred during launch causing a explosion that
destroyed the pad. The cosmonauts where launched to safely by their
emergency escape rockets.

Re:do what now? (2, Interesting)

Waste55 (1003084) | more than 6 years ago | (#22663018)

I am working CEV, the people doing the Abort Software are 1 row over from me.

No, the crew will not be moving around during ascent. :)

In short: The software will monitor for abort conditions, at a point where any are detected the Launch Abort System (LAS) will take over and "pull" the CM in the proper direction away from the rocket.

More unofficial info (sorry, cant link to official docs):
Launch Abort System [wikipedia.org]
Orion Abort Modes [wikipedia.org]
(I also remember an animated video on NASA's site at one point, but cant seem to locate it on the new website.)

Re:do what now? (1)

BBandCMKRNL (1061768) | more than 6 years ago | (#22664216)

In short: The software will monitor for abort conditions, at a point where any are detected the Launch Abort System (LAS) will take over and "pull" the CM in the proper direction away from the rocket.
This sounds like an interesting challenge. How do you differentiate between a sensor failure and the destruction of the sensor? In the first case, an abort is the wrong thing to do, and in the second case, it's the right thing to do.

In one of the many articles on the Discovery loss, there was mention made of the person monitoring some of the wing temperature sensors noticed an unexpected rise in the temperature reported and then zero degrees was reported. The person wondered if they were observing a sensor failure.

I recall watching a PBS documentary on the Apollo program and it was mentioned that the LAS on Apollo was useless on the pad if the 1st stage of the Saturn V exploded as the Apollo CM would be consumed in the ensuing explosion before the LAS could detect the explosion and trigger the escape rockets.

I wonder if this is also the case for the new system.

So... (2, Insightful)

n3tcat (664243) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661056)

I skimmed the article looking for details on the ejection system itself, but nothing stood out.

I'm guessing this is an ejection system strictly for non-moving spacecraft, right? I mean I can't imagine the speeds those shuttles reach, and having a piece of it suddenly pop open and eject the crew. Debris would be flying for miles.

Re:So... (1)

david.given (6740) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661726)

If it's the same as the old Saturn system, it's not an 'ejection system' in any traditional sense of the word. Rather, it's a set of emergency rockets attached to the crew capsule that, in the event of emergency, can lift the capsule up and away from a fireball sufficiently quickly that the crew will survive. The capsule then descends safely on its own reentry parachutes. Remember that the capsule is designed to withstand reentry, and that exploding rockets aren't actually very violent --- they look impressive but there's not much actual explosive power. The main point of the escape system is to ensure that the capsule is far enough away from the fireball, and far enough up, that parachute descent is safe. Was the Saturn escape tower ever actually tested? I know it was never used in anger...

Re:So... (1)

david.given (6740) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661760)

Feel free to insert the following paragraph breaks whereever in the previous post you so wish:







Stupid frickin' comment submission system...

The CLV is a /capsule/ (1)

wiredog (43288) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661846)

like Apollo. The Astronauts ride inside it, the tower is attached to the top. When they eject, the tower pulls the capsule away from the rest of the stack.

Re:So... (1)

necro81 (917438) | more than 6 years ago | (#22662798)

Calling it an "ejection" system is a misnomer. It's not like the ejection seats in a fighter jet, or the Gemini capsule [wikipedia.org] . It doesn't actually eject the crew from the capsule, but rather lifts the whole capsule away from the launch stack. The article mentions that the first few tests will be more or less static tests, but eventually work their way up:

a trio of in-flight trials is scheduled between 2009 and 2011 to measure the escape system's effectiveness at subsonic and supersonic speeds, as well as during a tumbling motion. A high-altitude test during the second Ares I launch, slated to fly in 2012 from NASA's Kennedy Space Center, will check the escape system at the upper limit of its design

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22663738)

guys... guys... this isn't that complicated. This is a tower jet that sits on top of the stack and is connected to the crew module. If it fires, it pulls the crew module away leaving the rest of the stack behind... the crew doesn't move!!! they stay right in their chair strapped in. this is basically identical to the escape system of apollo.

if you don't know what that looks like, you can read about it on wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Launch_escape_system [wikipedia.org]

Why? After the Shuttle, manned flight is over (1)

gelfling (6534) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661666)

Everyone knows that NASA will be pressured to end manned spaceflight after the Shuttle program and it will be respun as some kind international friendship effort to have all American astronauts put into orbit by Russian, Chinese and Indian systems.

And oh, in case you were wondering, manned spaceflight past Earth orbit is dead, buried over and out through at least this entire century.

Scale Model? (1)

CruddyBuddy (918901) | more than 6 years ago | (#22661856)

From TFA:

Meanwhile, a series of other technology checks are underway to test Orion parachutes and the shuttle-derived solid rocket booster of Ares I's first stage. NASA successfully launched a 1:100 scale model of the Ares I rocket in January.
Check out the link http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/constellation/multimedia/photos08-009.html [nasa.gov]

In the article they actually admit that it's an Estes rocket. OMG, I built models bigger than this thing when I was 12! And they came back in fewer pieces (by law), all of which were reusable, than NASA is going to get. Where the hell is my money going!?

Maybe that's what we need - A LAW! Oh...wait...

FYI: Orbital Science is the contractor (1)

space_hippy (625619) | more than 6 years ago | (#22662128)

Orbital Science is the manufacture of the Orion CEV Launch Abort System [orbital.com]

Nice to see NASA try to give the Astronauts a way out of a potentially deadly situation. Please give them credit for that much.

This is also good for the people in Southern New Mexico that live and work near White Sands Test Facility [nasa.gov] and White Sands Missile Range [army.mil] . As well as Tuscon Arizona, where Orbital is located, as it helps the economies of both regions.

ObTrek (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 6 years ago | (#22662418)

We'll never be ready for a spacecraft emergency until they've perfected that "Red Alert" klaxon/flashing light combo, and properly choreographed the entire crew to lean toward one side and then the other in unison.

Little Joe III (1)

TheHawke (237817) | more than 6 years ago | (#22662724)

The Little Joe series was a set of clustered solid two stage boosters designed to test the Mercury and Apollo capsules. Little Joe I was initially had clusters of four Sergeant solids, later the addition of Recruit motors for added "kick". Little Joe II had a bigger kick though, using 2 Algol 465 Kn motors in each stage.
I can see a new Little Joe being built to loft Orion "boilerplates" on a new series of tests.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Joe [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Joe_II [wikipedia.org]

There was one last Little Joe II on display at JSC in Houston. Situated beside the Saturn V display building, sitting on its transport jig, rusting from the inside out, in dire need of restoration.

They don't describe the system that well. (1)

rijrunner (263757) | more than 6 years ago | (#22663734)


    Basically, the "escape system" they describe is a series of small retro-rockets and some explosive charges that will detach the capsule from the launch vehicle in the event of an emergency. There is no separate escape module.

    The overall launch vehicle differs in a few critical areas from the old Mercury/Gemini/Apollo setups in that all of those capsules were on rockets that could be shut off after ignition. If there was a problem on a Saturn, or Atlas, or whatever, they would tell the engines to shut off and the flight path would then become a ballistic flight. This is important in that the capsule and launch vehicle would then be traveling the same speed and have zero relative velocity. It becomes a simple matter to then have some rockets that would move the capsule away from the rocket. While rough on the occupants, from an engineering perspective, it is much easier to achieve separation between two bodies traveling at the same speed than if one of them remains accelerating.

    With Orion and Ares, the issue is complicated by the use of a solid rocket. You can not shut down the rocket after ignition. It remains under constant thrust. The most likely failure mode in an SRB is loss of control. An SRB is not as likely to explode as the fuel burns at a fairly constant rate. But, loss of control is a different set of problems. You can not eject forward of the flight path as the rocket is still accelerating and will likely run into the capsule. Similarly, it can't just detach and have rockets kick it away a short distance either. It has to be ejected a certain distance away perpendicular to the flight path and far enough away that it would not be in the path of an out-of control SRB or its exhaust.

funny difference between perception and reality (2, Insightful)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#22663986)

I have to admit, I get a burst of geek pride when I see the shuttle actually building something in space, even if it's the deeply flawed space station. Back in the 90's, it burned me up to see the shuttle just dicking around in low earth orbit, not doing much but performing breeding experiments on fruit flies and floating around in the cabin. $500 million a launch and the damn thing isn't doing much on orbit when it's there! But building the space station, that's one of the original meat and potato missions planned for the shuttle. Neato! And to see that sucker in space, then see it come down through the atmosphere and land like a plane, oh so cool.

But you know what? None of that stuff was really necessary. There's no financial sense in retrieving satellites from orbit. The servicing of the Hubble was a very unique situation, it's almost always easier to treat each satellite as an expendable unit, send another one up when the last one wears out. The cost of launch is so high that "servicing" missions to install new components, refuel the thrusters, etc, all would end up significantly more expensive than sending up a brand new satellite.

As for building space stations, it really does make more sense to have a light man-rated vehicle that has 99.9999% reliability and a big dumb booster with 99% reliability sending up the big pieces. A shuttle really isn't needed for building anything in space -- things like the cargo bay arm should be a part of the station already. I believe one of the cut modules for the station would have been a super-arm, a multi-segmented robot that could walk it's way around the station, anchoring itself on special pads that would provide support and power. One or two of these arms could move anywhere on the station and help attach incoming modules every time they're boosted.

What we really need for a revolution in space, we need bigger boosters. Why did pepper used to be worth more per ounce than gold? Because getting to the far east was so damned expensive, caravan or ship, it was a dicy proposition. Why is pepper cheap as dirt now? Affordable transportation. Lower the cost of transport and whole new worlds of possibility are opened.

I remember reading about the Orion drive for the first time and smacking my head in awe. They weren't talking about building finnicky paperweight rockets, they were talking about constructing true spaceships in frickin' shipyards, launch weights that dwarfed naval destroyers! Ok, so maybe using open fusion explosions to propel the ship ain't politically correct but I've seen some very intriguing theoretical designs for clean nuclear propulsion, the kind of stuff with ehough ISP to get big, heavy things into earth orbit. Screw rockets and capsules, I want to see us launching stuff that looks like Battletech DropShips. Let's have some goddamn ambition, for chrissake.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...