United Launch Alliance Completes Crew Emergency Egress System
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., (April 2, 2017) – The final test of the Emergency Egress System (EES) was conducted recently, signifying the completion of another United Launch Alliance (ULA) milestone supporting NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. The EES was developed in support of Boeing’s Starliner crew capsule and is a means of rapid egress for astronauts in case of an anomaly.
“ULA is absolutely focused on the safety of the crews we will be supporting, and, although we hope to never use it, we are excited to announce the Emergency Egress System is fully operational,” said Gary Wentz, vice president of Human & Commercial Services. “Through our partnership with Terra-Nova, a company that designs and builds zip lines for recreational use, a modified, off-the-shelf product has been designed and constructed to meet our needs and reduce costs, while maintaining reliability and safety.”
The egress cables are situated on level 12 of the Crew Access Tower (CAT), 172 feet above the Space Launch Complex 41 pad deck at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and will allow the crew to evacuate the CAT quickly to a landing zone more than 1,340 feet from the launch vehicle. The EES can accommodate up to 20 personnel, including ground crew and flight crew.
Terra-Nova, LLC (makers of the ZipRider® Hybrid) offered a commercially developed EES based on their “off-the-shelf,” patented designs. The ZipRider was easily adaptable to ULA’s specific needs, while offering an unmatched safety record, and providing the best overall value.
In just 30 seconds, the rider reaches top speeds of 40 mph. The riders control their speed by releasing pressure on the handles, with the ability to glide to a gentle stop at the landing zone. There are 30 feet of springs on each cable located in the landing area to gradually slow a rider down if they forget to brake. Terra-Nova will install a training system located north of the CAT for riders to practice on before final training on the operational EES.
The Boeing Company is developing Starliner and selected ULA’s Atlas V rocket for human-rated spaceflight to the International Space Station. ULA’s Atlas V has launched more than 70 times with a 100 percent mission success rate.
“Crew safety is paramount, and the ULA Emergency Egress System hits the mark for an effective yet simple system that is adapted from other commercial applications,” said Chris Ferguson, Boeing director of Starliner Crew and Mission Systems and a former NASA astronaut. “We look forward to spaceflight operations next year knowing that every measure to protect the flight and ground crew has been employed."
With more than a century of combined heritage, United Launch Alliance is the nation’s most experienced and reliable launch service provider. ULA has successfully delivered more than 115 satellites to orbit that aid meteorologists in tracking severe weather, unlock the mysteries of our solar system, provide critical capabilities for troops in the field and enable personal device-based GPS navigation.
New emergency escape system for astronauts modeled after Canon City zip line design
An exhilarating joy ride for many tourists, will soon be a safety net for astronauts at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station--in Florida, should they encounter any issues on the ground.
"If something should develop, whether it's an issue with pressurization in the rocket, or a leak and the situation is dangerous--so dangerous, you don't want to send someone in to rescue them, the crew is probably their own best asset to get out of the vehicle safely," said Boeing Starliner Crew and Mission Systems Director Chris Ferguson.
Ferguson was involved with NASA for 13 years, and flew on three different space missions to the International Space Station.
Boeing and United Launch Alliance are installing an Emergency Egress System--or EES--at the Space Launch Complex-41, ahead of eight different CST-100 Starliner launches atop the ULA Atlas V rocket.
The EES is modeled after what's called an "off the shelf" system--the same system that takes 25,000 across the Royal Gorge every year.
It was developed by a company called Terra-Nova LLC, who won the bid for the emergency system's design.
"It's doesn't have a whole lot of avionics or bells and whistles. It's a standard seat with a braking system on a zip line," said ULA Human and Commercial Systems Vice President Gary Wentz.
"The fact that people are putting their kids and families on this system proves that if it was good enough for the general public to use in a recreational sense, we could use it to meet our general requirements," he added.
This type of escape system has never been needed to use an escape system on the ground in the past.
But if they ever do, the crew would have 90 seconds to get out of the spacecraft, and 30 seconds to get to the swing.
The only main difference is in the design of the seat, which has been modified to accommodate space suits versus street clothes.
Otherwise, the evacuation would be similar to what you'd experience on this zip line.
"The speeds are comparable--about 40-45 mph. Actually the system we have at Launch Complex 41 in Florida is 200 feet longer than this one," Ferguson.
All eight crews will travel to the International Space Station.
The date of the first launch has not been scheduled yet.
Quelle: KOAA NEWS 5