1991-07-01

Space Shuttle Launch Pad Rescue Plan 911569

The final preparation of the Space Shuttle Orbiter for flight involves the loading of large quantities of hazardous propellants. Additionally, many pyrotechnically operated mechanical joints are armed and ready for flight. The personnel manning at the pad is minimized during these operations to reduce the risk. Upon completition of propellant loading, the flight crew must be boarded onto the vehicle which at this point has tremendous potential energy. Plans have been made to safely and quickly evacuate the crew should some unforeseen contigency occur. Both aided and unaided egress scenarios have been planned. Personnel protective equipment is an important consideration to assure the highest chance for survival. Rapid movement of personnel is enhanced by the use of the slidewire system and specially prepared armored personnel carriers. The end result, as will be discussed in this paper, is a system that provides a reasonable chance of survival should an emergency occur during late countdown at the pad.

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