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  NASA tests Max Launch Abort System (MLAS)

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Author Topic:   NASA tests Max Launch Abort System (MLAS)
Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 06-05-2009 01:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
NASA Launch Tests Alternate Concept for Astronaut Escape System

NASA's Max Launch Abort System, or MLAS, is scheduled to be tested June 15 at the agency's Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Va. The launch window extends from approximately 5:45 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. EDT.

The unpiloted test is part of an effort to design a system for safely propelling future spacecraft and crews away from hazards on the launch pad or during the climb to orbit. This system was developed as an alternative concept to the launch abort system chosen for NASA's Orion crew capsule. Orion, part of a new spacecraft system being developed by NASA's Constellation Program, is undergoing design reviews in preparation for flying humans to the International Space Station in 2015 and, later, to the moon.

MLAS is being tested to provide experience in flight testing a spacecraft to NASA's Engineering and Safety Center, which leads the project from NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va. The 33-foot-high MLAS vehicle will be launched to an altitude of approximately one mile to simulate an emergency on the launch pad. A full-scale mockup of the crew module will separate from the launch vehicle and parachute into the Atlantic Ocean.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-14-2009 02:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release (June 11, 2009)
NASA Reschedules Test of Max Launch Abort System

Because of weather concerns and launch site preparation needs, NASA has rescheduled the test launch of the Max Launch Abort System, or MLAS, to no earlier than June 20 at the agency's Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Va. The launch window June 20 extends from approximately 5:45 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. EDT. The launch had been scheduled previously for June 15.

The unpiloted test is part of an effort to design a system for safely propelling future spacecraft and crews away from hazards on the launch pad or during the climb to orbit. This system was developed as an alternative concept to the launch abort system chosen for NASA's Orion crew capsule.

The 33-foot-high MLAS vehicle will be launched to an altitude of approximately one mile to simulate an emergency on the launch pad. A full-scale mockup of the crew module will separate from the launch vehicle and parachute into the Atlantic Ocean.

Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-22-2009 04:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
NASA Reschedules Test of Max Launch Abort System

Because of delays completing preliminary tests at the launch site, NASA has rescheduled the test launch of the Max Launch Abort System, or MLAS, to no earlier than June 25 at the agency's Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Va. The launch window will extend from approximately 5:45 a.m. to 10 a.m. EDT.

The unpiloted test is part of an effort to design a system for safely propelling future spacecraft and crews away from hazards on the launch pad or during the climb to orbit. This system was developed as an alternative concept to the launch abort system chosen for NASA's Orion crew capsule.

The 33-foot-high MLAS vehicle will be launched to an altitude of approximately one mile to simulate an emergency on the launch pad. A full-scale mockup of the crew capsule will separate from the launch vehicle and parachute into the Atlantic Ocean.

Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-08-2009 08:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Photo credit: NASA/Sean Smith
NASA successfully demonstrated an alternate system for future astronauts. The launch of the Max Launch Abort System, or MLAS, took place on July 8, 2009, at 6:26 a.m. at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Va.

The unpiloted launch tested an alternate concept for safely propelling a future spacecraft and its crew away from a problem on the launch pad or during ascent. The MLAS consists of four solid rocket abort motors inside a bullet-shaped composite fairing attached to a full-scale mockup of the crew module.

The 33-foot-high MLAS vehicle was launched to an altitude of approximately one mile to simulate an emergency on the launch pad. The flight demonstration began after the four solid rocket motors burned out. The crew module mockup separated from the launch vehicle at approximately seven seconds into the flight and parachuted into the Atlantic Ocean.


Photo credit: NASA/Sean Smith

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 07-08-2009 08:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
NASA Tests Alternate Launch Abort System For Astronaut Escape

NASA has successfully demonstrated an alternate system for future astronauts to escape their launch vehicle. A simulated launch of the Max Launch Abort System, or MLAS, took place Wednesday morning at 6:26 a.m. at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Va.

The unpiloted launch tested an alternate concept for safely propelling a future spacecraft and its crew away from a problem on the launch pad or during ascent. The MLAS consists of four solid rocket abort motors inside a bullet-shaped composite fairing attached to a full-scale mockup of the crew module.

The 33-foot-high MLAS vehicle was launched to an altitude of approximately one mile to simulate an emergency on the launch pad. The flight demonstration began after the four solid rocket motors burned out. The crew module mockup separated from the launch vehicle at approximately seven seconds into the flight and parachuted into the Atlantic Ocean.

The test demonstrated a number of things: the unpowered flight of the MLAS along a stable trajectory; reorientation and stabilization of the MLAS; separation of the crew module simulator from the abort motors; and stabilization and parachute recovery of the crew module simulator. An important objective of the test was to provide the workforce of NASA's Engineering and Safety Center, or NESC, with experience in flight testing a spacecraft concept. NESC leads the project at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.

NASA has chosen another launch abort system, known as the LAS, for the Orion spacecraft. The system has a single solid launch abort motor in a tower mounted at the top of the launch vehicle stack of the Orion and Ares I rocket. The LAS will be capable of automatically separating the spacecraft from the rocket at a moment's notice to make possible a safe landing. Orion, part of a new spacecraft system NASA's Constellation Program is developing, is undergoing design reviews in preparation for flying astronauts to the International Space Station in 2015 and, later, to the moon.

Data from today's MLAS pad abort test could help NASA in several ways. MLAS is the first demonstration of a passively-stabilized launch abort system on a vehicle in this size and weight class. It is the first attempt to acquire full-scale aero-acoustic data -- the measurement of high loads on a vehicle moving through the atmosphere at high velocity -- from a faired capsule in flight. The test is also the first to demonstrate full scale fairing and crew module separation and collect associated aerodynamic and orientation data. In addition, data from the parachute element will help validate simulation tools and techniques for Orion's parachute system development.

The NESC is an independently funded NASA program that draws on technical experts from across all NASA centers to provide objective engineering and safety assessments of critical, high risk projects.

The MLAS is named after Maxime (Max) Faget, a Mercury-era pioneer. Faget was the designer of the Project Mercury capsule and holder of the patent for the "Aerial Capsule Emergency Separation Device," which is commonly known as the escape tower.

NESC partners in the MLAS effort include Northrop Grumman Corporation.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-08-2009 01:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Video credit: SpaceRefOnOrbit / NASA TV

AstroAutos
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Posts: 724
From: Monaghan Town, Co. Monaghan, Ireland
Registered: Mar 2009

posted 07-08-2009 02:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for AstroAutos   Click Here to Email AstroAutos     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
So, if the LAS system is going to be used for the Orion spacecraft for future moon landing attempts, etc. (well hopefully it doesn't have to be used), then what is the MLAS going to be used for?

Lou Chinal
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Posts: 946
From: Staten Island, NY
Registered: Jun 2007

posted 07-08-2009 03:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lou Chinal   Click Here to Email Lou Chinal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I know they have said they're going to go with LAS, it's good to see MLAS also being developed. I'm sure both systems are going to have there share of problems, but it's good to know that NASA has a back-up plan.

By the way, Faget had a similar device for Mercury.

Apollo Redux
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From: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Registered: Sep 2006

posted 07-10-2009 01:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Apollo Redux   Click Here to Email Apollo Redux     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Outstanding video.

AstronautBrian
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Posts: 235
From: Madisonville, Louisiana, U.S.A.
Registered: Jan 2006

posted 07-12-2009 05:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for AstronautBrian   Click Here to Email AstronautBrian     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That was a great video, and I am glad that the test was a success.

I'm not really smart on the hows and whys particular spacecraft are designed the way they are - I just don't have that kind of engineering mind. However, to me, this system seemed a little over complex. I mean, three sets of chutes (not including the one for the "ring" that separated)? Also, the craft sectioned into three. I dunno - I guess it all makes sense to somebody.

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