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Contingency Abort

Contingency aborts are caused by loss of more than one main engine or failures in other systems. Loss of one main engine while another is stuck at a low thrust setting may also necessitate a contingency abort. Such an abort would maintain orbiter integrity for in-flight crew escape if a landing cannot be made at a suitable landing site.

Contingency aborts due to system failures other than those involving the main engines would normally result in an intact recovery of vehicle and crew. Loss of more than one main engine may, depending on engine failure times, result in a safe runway landing. However, in most three-engine-out cases during ascent, the orbiter would have to be ditched. The in-flight crew escape system would be used before ditching the orbiter.

Curator: Kim Dismukes | Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty | Updated: 04/07/2002
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