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Astronauts can now escape from an exploding rocket

7 May 2010, 11:08 UTC
Astronauts can now escape from an exploding rocket
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NASA has spent $220 million on testing a new escape system rocket in New Mexico on this Thursday dummy crew module more than a mile up in just 20 seconds to demonstrate how a future manned spacecraft could be pulled to safety in the event of a catastrophic on-pad rocket failure.A solid-fuel motor was used which generated some 500,000 pounds of thrust, the launch abort system ignited with a torrent of orange fire and smoke pulling the dummy crew module to nearly 450 mph in just 2.5 seconds with an acceleration of 16 times the force of gravity.The heavily instrumented capsule, which will not be used again, hit the ground two minutes and 14 seconds or so after launch, 6,919 feet from its takeoff point. Touchdown velocity was 16 mph, about 6 mph slower than predicted."It's a great day for the country, for NASA and for industry," said NASA Test Conductor Don Reed. "It was absolutely successful. We didn't see anything anomalous. Everything worked as it was expected. In fact, we actually touched down at significantly less velocity than we predicted. The performance was absolutely astounding."Now our astronauts can land safely in case of rocket failure.

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