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09/16/2021 – Ephemeris – How safe is the Space Launch System (SLS) compared to the Space Shuttle?

16 Sep 2021, 04:01 UTC
09/16/2021 – Ephemeris – How safe is the Space Launch System (SLS) compared to the Space Shuttle?
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

This is Ephemeris for Thursday, September 16th. Today the Sun will be up for 12 hours and 27 minutes, setting at 7:51, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:24. The Moon, 3 days past first quarter, will set at 3:10 tomorrow morning.
Tonight, the planet Saturn will appear above the bright gibbous Moon. It might be a bit hard to spot.
The big NASA moon rocket, the Space Launch System or SLS, borrowed a lot of features from the Space Shuttle. Is it any safer? The answer is yes. The Space Shuttle had no abort system for a catastrophic failure, as we saw with the Challenger accident in 1986. However, even though the SLS uses the same type solid rocket boosters that failed Challenger, the Crew in the Orion capsule is on top of the rocket with an escape system to rocket them away from an exploding core stage. With the Orion capsule, the escape tower will be jettisoned at some point before reaching orbit, possibly making escape impossible in the latter stage of powered flight. Both SpaceX’s Dragon and Boeing’s Starliner have escape rockets built in for the entire flight.
Addendum
Shuttle-SLS comparisons. Note that this image is 10 ...

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