This system design to save cosmonauts in case the rocket explodes on the launch pad, or during ascent. Explosive bolts are fired to separate the spacecraft's descent module from its service module, and the rocket's upper launch shroud from the lower. The escape system's engine then fires, catapulting the module and shroud up and free of the booster to descend by parachute some kilometres away. Such an abort occurred on September 26, 1983 during the launch of Soyuz-10-1 mission when the due to the fire of the vehicle before lift-off "Soyuz-T10-1" spacecraft a rocket blew up on pad. Two cosmonauts-Vladimir Titov and Gennady Strekalov were saved by emergency rescue system just 2 seconds before lift-off. About a minute before launch, a fire broke out at the base of the Soyuz booster. Since Strekalov had flown before, he could tell something was wrong by the sounds coming from the booster before it blew. He tightened his harness and told Titov to do the same in anticipation of the launch escape system going off. Seconds later the Soyuz escape tower accelerated at 20 G's, taking the capsule to a safe distance from the pad. It is worth to mention that these engines, as part of the third stage of the rocket never returns back to earth from space. In orbit, the upper stage just opens to release the spacecraft and remains in space for long time until it burns out during re-entry in atmosphere.
Extremely rare space artefact
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