A launchpad escape nearly as thrilling as the blastoff

NASA Emergency Egress System

Popular Science article on a potential escape plan being reviewed by NASA.

If something goes wrong in the tense moments before a space launch, such as an explosion of noxious gases or a fire on the launchpad, future astronauts could escape harm—on a roller coaster.

A confidential NASA study of emergency egress systems (EES) was recently unearthed in which the authors recommended using mini railcars, docked at the top of a 350-foot-tall launch tower, to speed crews down a track to ground level in a heart-pumping 4.5 seconds.


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