By this answer I now know that most rockets have self-destruction, with SpaceX even an automated one.

And here I learned that the self-destruct is also tested.

But nowhere does it say when the self-destruct is armed, let alone how long it will stay armed.

When is the self-destruct on a missile armed?


1 Answer 1


For the shuttle at least (which was not a "missile" though) the range safety system was armed only shortly before it was fired. When the shuttle range safety system was armed, a light illuminated in the crew cockpit. This was originally intended to tell the crew to eject.

For the latter part of the program, the only Range Safety System left on the stack was in the Solid Rocket Boosters. So if Range Safety actions had to be taken in 2nd stage, the illumination of this light served as a backup or no-voice-comm cue to the crew to take the actions they had been briefed on.

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