NASA has tested rocket engines and parachutes that could be instrumental in developing the first crew launch escape system in almost 30 years. The tests pave the way toward a series of integrated Pad Abort Demonstration flight tests in 2005 in support of the Orbital Space Plane program. The pad abort tests are aimed at developing a system that could pull a crew safely away from an aborted launch if needed. The PAD project is managed at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.NASA has tested rocket engines and parachutes that could be instrumental in developing the first spacecraft crew launch escape system in almost 30 years. The tests pave the way for a series of integrated Pad Abort Demonstration (PAD) test flights to support NASA's Orbital Space Plane (OSP) program. Launch pad abort tests support development of a system that could pull a crew safely away from danger during liftoff. Knowledge gained from the testing will reduce the future design and development risks of a launch escape system that could be used for the OSP.
"PAD is the first launch pad crew escape system NASA has developed since Apollo," said Chuck Shaw, PAD Project Manager at the Johnson Space Center (JSC), Houston. "The engine and parachute tests followed successful vehicle wind tunnel tests in September." The engines were fired in tests at the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) in Huntsville, Ala., in November and December. A series of 14 hot-fire tests of a 50,000-pound thrust RS-88 rocket engine were conducted, resulting in a total of 55 seconds of successful engine operation. The final test was completed Dec. 11. The engine is being designed and built by the Rocketdyne Propulsion & Power unit of The Boeing Company.
View: Full Article | Source: Nasa.gov
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Engine, parachute tests pave way for launch escape
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