NASA is to use a new version of the Mercury and Apollo programmes’ Little Joe rockets to test the launch escape system (LES) for the new Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) beginning on 13 November 2008 at White Sands missile range in New Mexico.
The CEV crew module, with four to six astronauts, would be pulled away from a malfunctioning launcher by the escape system’s solid rocket motor. NASA has had no way to flight test such a device since 1966, when test flights of the Apollo LES using the Little Joe 2 booster ended.
“There will be some sort of launch vehicle used, a similar concept to the Little Joe,” says Michael Hecker, Constellation Systems division director within NASA’S exploration systems mission directorate.
Source: Flight International