As far as I know, there is no procedure for emergency release of the SRBs. Which makes sense in a way... Let's say something went wrong halfway though burnout and you had to jettison the SRBs. Now because you can't shut off the SRBs once they are lit or control them as they fly through the air, if you do jettison them early, one of two things will happen; either the SRB will fly wildly around, being too close to the Shuttle to detonate remotely, threatening the Shuttle and crew OR it will eventually fly away far enough to detonate them (assuming it didn't already pose danger to something), but who would judge how far was far enough and there is no guarantee this will happen anyway.
And what of the Shuttle? Sure, you have the RTLS but this requires you to be at the altitude of normal SRB jettison. If you lower the height to attempt the maneuver, then you are reducing the time to do it in. And this abort procedure isn't exactly safe to begin with, some NASA engineers even say there is (realistically) a 0% chance of survival to begin with.
So, I think that in that first 123 seconds of lift off, no matter what happens, you are committed to that launch. There is nothing you can do until the SRBs burn out.
No it doesn't. If they they knew they would need to jettison in advance, it would defeat the purpose of it being an "emergency procedure" (to be done as the emergency arises). The Shuttle safety (and the safety of those inside) is never a moot point. Always, NASA saves the crew, the equiptment and the mission in that order. That is how it has been since Apollo. The crew of Challenger may have been doomed, but not from the explosion. Those crew were alive (though unconcious) when they hit the ocean and only died on impact. Therefore, it is never ever a moot point.
My own knowledge.
· 9 years ago