MLAS test at Wallops

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Swampcat

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Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia will be holding a test of the MLAS June 15. The test is scheduled for 5:45am. It's too late to get a pass to see the launch from the Visitor's Center, but it's my understanding that it will televised here. Coverage should begin 30 minutes before the test.

More information on the MLAS can be obtained here and here.

Here are some images of some of the hardware:



Thanks go to Randy Regan of Langley Research Center for the photos.
 
K

kyle_baron

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MLAS will never fly on Ares 1, it's too heavy. Maybe on a man-rated Ares V.
 
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MeteorWayne

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Since swampcat has decided to be stubborn and not decode his acronym (IMHO, poor practice in a forum where people of many different knowledge levels are readers) it stands for Max Launch Abort System

MW
 
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Swampcat

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MeteorWayne":6q9e6zz4 said:
Since swampcat has decided to be stubborn and not decode his acronym (IMHO, poor practice in a forum where people of many different knowledge levels are readers) it stands for Max Launch Abort System

MW

Since MW has decided to be critical of my forum etiquette, I'd like to point out that I provided two links to pages that explained it all. That information is a click away.

Don't worry, MW, I won't bother anyone again with my stubborness. This place is dead anyway.
 
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Boris_Badenov

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MeteorWayne":2p8g4s3x said:
Since swampcat has decided to be stubborn and not decode his acronym (IMHO, poor practice in a forum where people of many different knowledge levels are readers) it stands for Max Launch Abort System

MW
I just read the linked article.
 
V

vulture4

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It appears this was also a back-of-the-envelope concept proposed by Mike Griffin. I remain confused as to why we need not one, but two solid-fueled abort systems. Would a LAS have saved the crew we lost on Apollo One, or the two we nearly lost on Apollo 13 and ASTP? The Soyuz LAS saved one crew, but if the fire had been a little earlier while the hatch was still open, escape would have been impossible. And a Soyuz LAS went off inadvertently in an earlier accident, killing one ground crew member and injuring several others.

Now, the following is just MHO, so don't flame me too badly.

The fundamental problem is our tendency to see the LAS as a panacea for system failure; there is a "requirement" that the crew be able to escape, the LAS meets that requirement and makes us "safe". This blinds us to the array of contingencies where it would be unlikley to prevent loss of the crew, and the low probability of a contingency actually occurring and then unfolding as we assume it will. Historically almost all major launch vehicle contingencies are due to unanticipated modes of failure, therefore the actual reliability of a launch vehicle is intrinsically not predictable. Yet it is a requirement to not only predict it, but meet an arbitrary spec. Obviously we have no means of escape when we get on an airliner. But despite an occasional crash, airline flight is extremely safe. Adding an escape rocket doesn't make a vehicle safe, nor do pressure suits. Reliability should be built in, not added on.
 
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JonClarke

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vulture4":2n1idxxv said:
It appears this was also a back-of-the-envelope concept proposed by Mike Griffin. I remain confused as to why we need not one, but two solid-fueled abort systems. Would a LAS have saved the crew we lost on Apollo One
No, but then it was not a launch accident.


, or the two we nearly lost on Apollo 13 and ASTP?
Only Apollo 13 was a launch incident. the LAS would have saved the crew if the pogo led to the Saturn to break up. The Apollo 13 SM failure was not a launch issue so the LAS was irrelevant. The ASTP issue was during descent, once again LAS was irrelevant.

The Soyuz LAS saved one crew, but if the fire had been a little earlier while the hatch was still open, escape would have been impossible.
If the hatch were still oepn it would not longer be a launch accident and other means of escape were possible. Which bit of LAUNCH ESCAPE don't you understand? It is not intended to help before launch, or in flight, or during descent.

And a Soyuz LAS went off inadvertently in an earlier accident, killing one ground crew member and injuring several others.
ONE failure in 50 years (and that in only the fourth unmanned launch attempt) is rather good.

Should we get rid of back up oxygen on airliners because they don't help survival in all circumstances?

Jon
 
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vulture4

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>>If the hatch were still oepn it would not longer be a launch accident and other means of escape were possible. Which bit of LAUNCH ESCAPE don't you understand? It is not intended to help before launch, or in flight, or during descent.

Only 25 seconds elapsed between the detection of the fire and the explosion, and even this was unusual. Generally there is little or no warning in a pad explosion. No ground egress system permits escape of all personnel from a large launch complex in less than about two minutes, and I am unaware of any actual historical pad explosion in which that much warning time was available. If there is even a detailed failure analysis that identifies a mode in which a catastrophic explosion actually occurs after a warning period long enough for ground egress, I would be interested in seeing it.

It's quite true that the Soyuz booster is quite reliable; as a result it had just one catastrophic explosion in which the LAS permitted escape. The LAS also caused one fatal incident. Redundancy adds complexity and creates additional failure modes, and if the failures where the redundant system causes as many failures as it mitigates, then redundancy doesn't help. There are situations when redundancy is an appropriate method of increasing reliability, i.e. carrying a spare tire in your car, when the mode of failure is understood and changing the design to eliminate the failure mode (i.e. run-flat tires) is not feasible because of cost, the failure rate is known with some accuracy because the component has actually failed multiple times in testing or actual use, and the failures induced by the redundancy (i.e. people injured while changing tires) is very low. However most launch vehicle failures, once the failure mode was known, were completely prevented by relatively minor design changes. So the most effective way to improve launch vehicle reliability is generally thorough flight testing of the critical design elements, simplification of manufacturing, servicing and maintenance to minimize critical tasks, and effective quality control (on the actual hardware, not the paperwork).
 
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BrianBoru

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Swampcat":24g81w47 said:
Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia will be holding a test of the MLAS June 15. The test is scheduled for 5:45am. It's too late to get a pass to see the launch from the Visitor's Center, but it's my understanding that it will televised here. Coverage should begin 30 minutes before the test.

More information on the MLAS can be obtained here and here.

Here are some images of some of the hardware:



Thanks go to Randy Regan of Langley Research Center for the photos.
Thanks for the heads-up, and the links.
 
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MeteorWayne

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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.
 
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newsartist

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Have there been any more schedule updates on the MLAS test?
 
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MeteorWayne

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Last I heard was June 22, but that may not be correct now. I'm checking....
 
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MeteorWayne

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Sorry it took me so long to find it :(

NASA Reschedules Test of Max Launch Abort System for June 25 WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. -- 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.

Because of the possibility of further schedule changes, news media representatives should contact Rebecca Powell at 757-824-1139 or Ashley Edwards at 202-358-1756 to confirm the exact date and time of the launch.

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.

For more information about MLAS, visit:


http://www.nasa.gov/centers/wallops/missions/mlas.html


For more information about the Constellation Program, visit:


http://www.nasa.gov/constellation
 
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