2017-12-15 03:00:01

Crewed space capsules like those of Apollo and Soyuz have an abort thruster on top that lifts the crew clear if the rocket explodes on the launch pad. To take the weight of the thruster, the capsules have to be super-strong – and therefore extremely heavy – so NASA has come up with an alternative. In patent application US 2008/0265099 it describes a carbon fibre cone entirely covering the capsule, with the thruster on top, that carries the weight of the thruster down to the rim of the main rocket. If anyone gets out their digital camera,