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Launch Escape System


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The Launch Escape Subsystem (LES) of the Apollo spacecraft was designed to rocket the command module away from the booster in an emergency. The LES consisted of a tower mounted to the nose of the Boost Protective Cover which covered the Apollo command module during lift-off.

The LES tower has 3 solid rocket motors. The Launch Escape Motor was to be fired in an emergency to pull the Apollo capsule away from the booster. The Launch Escape Motor was capable of providing about 147,000 pounds of thrust - about twice the thrust of the Redstone rocket which launched America's first astronaut into space - but only for a few seconds.

The second solid rocket motor in the LES was the Pitch Control Motor near the top of the tower. It was to be used to control the direction of flight as the LES pulled the command module away from the booster during an emergency.

The third solid rocket motor in the LES was the Tower Jettison Motor which was used to pull the LES and the Boost Protective Cover away from the command module.

References:

  • SA-8 (Miscellaneous)
  • SA-9 (Miscellaneous)

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