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Space shuttle self destruct

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Space shuttle self destruct

Comments for: Space shuttle self destruct
frank224 Report This Comment
Date: March 05, 2009 06:58PM

A little-known component on the space shuttle that NASA doesn't like to talk about is the self-destruct mechanism or, as they like to call it, "Flight Termination."

In the event that the space shuttle flies out of a specific flight path over the Atlantic and it appears that it will impact a populated area, an Air Force officer would flip the switch which would detonate charges in the booster rocket, destroying the shuttle and crew.

If the shuttle manages to fly for two minutes, the booster rockets fall away taking the charges with them after which, if a problem arises, the crew can either ditch the ship into the Atlantic, evacuating via parachutes, or orbit the Earth once and land at Edwards Air Force Base.

After the destruction of Challenger, the charges were used to remotely detonate the booster rockets that continued to fly out of control after the explosion.
FrostedApe Report This Comment
Date: March 05, 2009 11:45PM

So, who's the guy with big enough balls to push that "Test" switch? I wouldn't.
90130_ Report This Comment
Date: March 06, 2009 12:30AM

Y'know, I've often wondered how difficult it would be to allow the crew cabin to separate from the payload section in the event of an unrecoverable emergency?

Russian Soyuz rockets have had this feature for years. This was actually used once to blow the crew capsule completely clear of the vehicle to safety when a launch pad fire went out of control.