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NASA Space

A Look At Orion's Launch Abort System 44

An anonymous reader writes: With the construction of Orion, NASA's new manned spacecraft, comes the creation of a new Launch Abort System — the part of the vehicle that will get future astronauts back to Earth safely if there's a problem at launch. The Planetary Society's Jason Davis describes it: "When Orion reaches the apex of its abort flight, it is allowed to make its 180-degree flip. The capsule of astronauts, who have already realized they will not go to space today, experience a brief moment of weightlessness before the capsule starts falling back to Earth, heat shield down. The jettison motor fires, pulling the LAS away from Orion. ... Orion, meanwhile, sheds its Forward Bay Cover, a ring at the top of the capsule protecting the parachutes. Two drogue chutes deploy, stabilizing the wobbling capsule. The drogues pull out Orion's three main chutes, no doubt eliciting a sigh of relief from the spacecraft's occupants."
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A Look At Orion's Launch Abort System

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  • by LostMyBeaver ( 1226054 ) on Tuesday October 21, 2014 @04:24AM (#48193519)
    Isn't Orion a space craft being made by the crooks at Boeing, Lockheed and the other losers who rape the shit out of tax payers, intentionally underbid projects and run decades and billions over budget and laugh at us?

    NASA should not be allowed to commission their own spacecraft since the laws currently in place force them to choose contractors like those crooks to build their space craft and when was the last time any of them actually built anything that wasn't a royal heap of shit?
  • The Orion is totally over designed, too many parts means too many parts to go wrong. A Buran [wikipedia.org] type reusable lander on top of a conventional rocket stack would be simpler and safer. The buran would function as an escape vehicle, get them into orbit or get them back to earth.
    • Buran was side-stacked just like shuttle. There are very important design considerations to putting something that big on top of a rocket stack, including the structure of the stages below have to be much heavier, the wing acts like a giant lever on the wrong end, etc.

      No, that would NOT be much simpler and safer. There's a reason why every orbital space plane has been side-stacked (Shuttle, Buran, X-37).

      Also: Buran had a total of what, 37 minutes of orbital flight, unmanned?

      • No, that would NOT be much simpler and safer. There's a reason why every orbital space plane has been side-stacked (Shuttle, Buran, X-37).

        X-37 is top stacked [wikipedia.org] as was the X-23 [liftingbody.net]. On the other hand, both are small enough that they could be encapsulated in a shroud to avoid aerodynamic issues. (And you forgot the X-20 Dyna-Soar [wikipedia.org], which was also top stacked but was not encapsulated.)

  • Considering how much crap has gone seriously wrong by the time it happens, I'm going to guess you're not getting a 'sigh of relief' when the 'chutes pop...pretty much I'd be saving that until I'm standing outside, on the ground, looking at the bloody thing.

  • by bhmit1 ( 2270 ) on Tuesday October 21, 2014 @10:24AM (#48195853) Homepage

    At least it's not the Rube Goldberg design of MLAS...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

    But I still agree with others, the NASA designs are over engineered, designed by committee for maximum vendor usage so jobs get created in as many states as possible, making it difficult for Congress to cut their budget.

    • Dear god, I remember that insane thing. The first time I saw a diagram of that escape system, I thought to myself "This has about, 15 to many steps in it." So many things to go wrong and kill you, AFTER you've escaped from an exploding rocket.

"Yeah, but you're taking the universe out of context."