One of the many tests we did for NASA was testing the Pad Abort system for the new Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle. Today, it got a full size test and the first video is up at NASA.GOV.
This is a really cool system similar to the old Saturn rockets used for the moon missions. The PA is designed so that if something goes wrong on the pad, it can lift the entire crew capsule off the rocket and high enough for parachutes to deploy and bring it back to earth safely.
This test darn near killed me, literally. We use high pressure air flow to simulate the rockets firing and these are not your fathers compressors. (2500+PSI)! We had a hose failure during the test and I was in the room with the line when it let go. Let's just say there is a reason I keep a spare set of clothes at work. I had hearing protection on but the sound of that line going a couple feet away was enough to scare me senseless.
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