Encyclopedia Astronautica
Rescue



moosbail.jpg
MOOSE bailout
In the early 1960's, in the hey-day of the X-20 Dynasoar, it seemed that the US military would naturally keep building military aerospacecraft that would just keep going higher and faster. It was also supposed that the pilot would have to be given the equivalent of an ejection seat - some means of bailing out of the spacecraft in case of catastrophic failure or enemy attack.

So it came to pass that a variety of foaming, inflatable, deployable systems were proposed - among them the famous General Electric MOOSE and the Space General FIRST. These gave the suited pilot the chance to step out into the void from a crippled craft, pull the ripcord, and manually cannonball or glide to the earth's surface.

In the late 1960's, when the Air Force ILRV and NASA Shuttle were being studied, these designs were revisited - now upgraded for three or more crew. In the end, they were not adopted - even after the Challenger disaster. Since the payload impact was not great, one can only suppose that the idea just seemed too fantastic to be really credible.

Here is the ultimate adventure awaiting some millionaire thrill seeker. The FAA may not approve, but how about strapping your fanny to some surplus Russian SLBM or developing country space launcher. A quick boost to orbit, a few photo opportunities, then the challenging retrofire and that long free fall or paraglide back to the earth.... As sports become ever more extreme and expensive, surely the next millennium will find the spaceways filled not with government employees but rather daredevils out for their Sunday adrenaline rush....

More... - Chronology...


Associated Spacecraft
  • 1 Crew Lifeboat Long Term American manned rescue spacecraft. Study 1959. One crew lifeboat capsule, separable, not re-entry capable, long duration. For use on Mars/Venus expedition. More...
  • 1 Crew Lifeboat American manned rescue spacecraft. Study 1959. One crew lifeboat capsule, separable, not re-entry capable, short duration. Mass per crew 266 kg. More...
  • 3 Crew Lifeboat Long Term American manned rescue spacecraft. Study 1959. Three crew lifeboat capsule, separable, not re-entry capable, long duration. For use on Mars/Venus expedition. Mass per crew 511 kg. More...
  • 3 Crew Lifeboat American manned rescue spacecraft. Study 1959. Three crew bailout lifeboat separable, not re-entry capable, short duration. Mass per crew 239 kg. More...
  • FIRST Re-Entry Glider American manned rescue spacecraft. Study 1960. FIRST (Fabrication of Inflatable Re-entry Structures for Test) used an inflatable Rogallo wing for emergency return of space crew from orbit. More...
  • Advanced Manned System 1961 American manned rescue spacecraft. Study 1961. Six crew ballistic re-entry capsule. Orbital escape - abort capability. Mass per crew 548 kg. More...
  • 5 Crew Lifeboat American manned rescue spacecraft. Study 1962. Five crew lifeboat capsule, separable, not re-entry capable, short duration. Mass per crew 284 kg. More...
  • Paracone American manned rescue spacecraft. Study 1963. The Douglas Paracone was one of the most minimal schemes for bail-out from orbit. The objective was to hit a continental land mass; for such purposes totally manual re-entry operations were used. More...
  • 10 Crew Shelter American manned rescue spacecraft. Study 1963. Ten crew emergency shelter capsule, not separable, not re-entry capable, long duration. Mass per crew 301 kg. More...
  • MOOSE American manned rescue spacecraft. Study 1963. MOOSE was perhaps the most celebrated bail-out from orbit system of the early 1960's. The suited astronaut would strap the MOOSE to his back, and jump out of the spacecraft or station into free space. More...
  • Re-Entry Escape System American manned rescue spacecraft. Study 1963. One crew lifting re-entry capsule. No abort capability. Mass per crew 1171 kg. More...
  • Re-Entry Glider-Six Crew American manned rescue spacecraft. Study 1963. A six-man parasail escape system was studied as an elaboration of the single-crew system. It was to provide rescue from manned spacecraft as well as stations. More...
  • Umanskiy Space Capsule Soviet manned spacecraft. Study 1965. Small minimum space capsule for emergency return of crew or urgent payloads from orbit. Proposed by an engineer at Soviet Factory 918 in 1965, but no support from the entrenched space interests. More...
  • GE Life Raft American manned rescue spacecraft. Study 1966. The GE Life raft was a rigid unpressurized aeroshell. Three crew in space suits with parachutes would strap themselves into the seats. More...
  • Lockheed EEOED American manned rescue spacecraft. Study 1966. Lockheed's EEOED was a three-crew Discovery-type re-entry vehicle. More...
  • Rescue Gemini American manned rescue spacecraft. Study 1966. A version of Gemini was proposed for rescue of crews stranded in Earth orbit. This version, launched by a Titan 3C, used a transtage for maneuvering. More...
  • SAVER American manned rescue spacecraft. Study 1966. The Rockwell SAVER concept provided return of a single crew member in his ejection seat. A nosecap only the size of the seat absorbed most of the re-entry heat. More...
  • AIRMAT American manned rescue spacecraft. Study 1968. Inflatable; space suits required; ejection seat; requires development of flexible heat shield and new materials. Mass per crew 570 kg. More...
  • Rib Stiffened Expandable Escape System American manned rescue spacecraft. Study 1968. This Rockwell concept was stowed in a canister. In an emergency, the articulated rib-truss structure would be deployed into a mechanically rigid aeroshell shape. More...
  • Apollo Rescue CSM American manned rescue spacecraft. Study 1970. Influenced by the stranded Skylab crew portrayed in the book and movie 'Marooned', NASA provided a crew rescue capability for the first time in its history. More...
  • ENCAP American manned rescue spacecraft. Study 1970. The ENCAP encapsulated bailout-from-orbit concept consisted of a folded heat shield. The astronaut would exit his stranded spacecraft and strap into the seat. More...
  • X-38 American manned spaceplane. 2 launches, 1972.02.16 (HL-10 LB Test?) to 1972.05.20 (HL-10 LB Test?). Lifting body reentry vehicle designed as emergency return spacecraft for International Space Station crew. More...
  • EGRESS American manned rescue spacecraft. Study 1972. The EGRESS space escape system was based on the proven Encapsulated Ejection Seat System developed for the B-58 bomber in the 1960's. More...
  • MOSES American manned rescue spacecraft. Study 1975. The General Electric MOSES space rescue concept of the early 1980's took advantage of large re-entry capsules already developed for classified US military projects. More...
  • Apollo CM Escape Concept American manned rescue spacecraft. Study 1976. Escape capsule using Apollo command module studied by Rockwell for NASA for use with the shuttle in the 1970's-80's. Mass per crew: 750 kg. More...
  • Northrop LBEC American manned rescue spacecraft. Study 1976. Northrop, building on its work on the HL-10 and M2-F3 lifting bodies, proposed a lifting body three-crew lifeboat. The piloted spacecraft would use a parasail for recovery. More...
  • Rockwell SHS American manned rescue spacecraft. Study 1976. The Rockwell Spherical Heat Shield escape concept used a return capsule shell like a Vostok capsule cut in half. Two crew could be returned in a pressurized environment. Mass per crew 220 kg. More...
  • Skylab Reboost Module American logistics spacecraft. Cancelled 1980. Module developed for Shuttle to deliver to Skylab to boost it to a higher orbit for use during the Shuttle program. More...
  • HL-20 American manned spaceplane. Study 1988. The HL-20 was a NASA Langley design for a manned spaceplane as a backup to the space shuttle (in case it was abandoned or grounded) and as a CERV (Crew Emergency Return Vehicle) for the Freedom space station. More...
  • Rescue Ball American manned rescue spacecraft. Study 1984. The Personal Rescue Enclosure (PRE) Rescue Ball was an 86 cm diameter high-tech beach ball for transport of astronauts from a spacecraft in distress to the space shuttle. More...
  • NASA ACRV American manned spaceplane. Study 1986. The early Space Station proposals assumed the facility would be equipped with a 'safe haven' where the crew would wait for a rescue Shuttle in case of emergency. More...
  • Alpha Lifeboat Russian manned rescue spacecraft. Study 1995. 1995 joint Energia-Rockwell-Khrunichev design for space station Alpha lifeboat based on the Zarya reentry vehicle with a solid retrofire motor, cold gas thruster package. Five years on-orbit storage. More...
  • IRDT Russian manned rescue spacecraft. First launch 2000.02.08. Inflatable re-entry and descent technology vehicle designed to return payloads from space to the earth or another planet. Tested three times, with only one partially successful recovery. More...

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