Orion's Launch Abort System is Ready on the Anniversary of Apollo 11
Of course, we all know landing on the Moon was a "huge leap for mankind."
And earlier this year, NASA has made a huge leap in an innovation that could help save astronauts who are headed to the Moon again by 2024.
The scientists at NASA have developed a special type of "abort mission" system that could save astronauts in a launch gone wrong! Every astronaut understands they are taking a risk once they board that spacecraft, so imagine how much safer they would feel in their exploration with a more advanced system in place.
The abort system, called the Launch Abort System (LAS) works by literally throwing the astronauts out of the spacecraft and out of the path of destruction. The medium comes as a rocket-powered tower on top of the crew module, specifically built for deep space missions and to ride on a high-powered rocket. It is positioned with motors on top of the Orion rocket crew module, and designed to pull the crew module away from a rocket, rather than push it away with motors at the base, as some spacecraft designed for other destinations are built to do.
“In an abort scenario, the Launch Abort System and crew module essentially become its own aircraft,” says Chuck Dingell, the chief engineer for Orion. “Not only do we want to get that craft away from a dangerous scenario quickly, but we also want to control it so that it flies in a direction as far as possible from the rocket. It’s also easier to control a vehicle with a forward center of gravity and that is heavier on the front end.”
They haven’t actually used it with astronauts quite yet, but they are working on it. The demo last week was extremely successful, and LAS worked exactly as expected.
Scientists will continue to run tests to ensure our astronauts are safe, but the prototype is expected to be ready by 2024.
Yet another leap made by our team at NASA!