Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Inside NASA's Bomb Shelter Built To Withstand A Rocket Exploding On The Launchpad


The Saturn V was huge, and huge rockets tend to have proportionately devastating explosions. Engineers calculated that a Saturn V exploding on the launch pad would turn into a fireball 1,408 feet (430 meters) wide and burn for nearly 40 seconds reaching a peak temperature of 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit (1,380 degrees Celsius).

In the age of Saturn V -- the 60s and 70s -- to get astronauts and launch crews clear of a fatal explosion, NASA had three possible escape plans in place: the launch escape system that would pull the command module free from the rocket during an abort; a slide wire astronauts could ride to a safe point on the ground; and an underground blast chamber.

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