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Countdown! NASA Launch Vehicles and Facilities
PMS 018-B 
October 1991
Section 4

Slidewire System

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The Slidewire System provides an escape route for the astronauts in the orbiter and closeout crew on the Fixed Service Structure until the final 30 seconds of the countdown. Seven slidewires extend from the Fixed Service Structure at the Orbiter Access Arm level, down to the ground. A flat-bottom basket made of steel wire and heat-resistant fiber, surrounded by netting, suspends from the top of each of the seven wires. Each basket can hold up to three persons. The basket slides down a 1,200-foot (366-meter) wire to an emergency shelter bunker located west of the Fixed Service Structure. The descent takes approximately 35 seconds; a braking system using a net and drag chain stops the slowing basket at the bottom.

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