Shuttle launch in minutes

  • #1
Ivan Seeking
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with the first teacher in space. If you haven't seen this, the story is pretty interesting. Recall that the first teacher in space died in the Challenger accident.

Just search the news and you will see the story.
 

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  • #2
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The space shuttle is at the Udvar Hazy museum. Standing next to it you get to see how impressive it is. Its one HUGE vehicle. The back of it is simply massive. MUCH, much bigger than the 707, enola gay, or concorde.

http://photos.si.edu/2006-278.jpg [Broken]
 
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  • #3
Ivan Seeking
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Wow, even after 22 years[?], when I heard the call to go to throttle-up, I found myself holding my breath. That was the moment when the Challenger blew up...
 
  • #4
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Bye byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.
 
  • #5
Astronuc
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NASA Finds Gouge on Endeavour's Belly

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12519384 [Broken]

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. August 10, 2007, 9:31 p.m. ET · NASA discovered a worrisome gouge on Endeavour's belly soon after the shuttle docked with the international space station Friday, possibly caused by ice that broke off the fuel tank a minute after liftoff.

The gouge — about 3 inches square — was spotted in zoom-in photography taken by the space station crew shortly before Endeavour delivered teacher-astronaut Barbara Morgan and her six crewmates to the orbiting outpost.

"What does this mean? I don't know at this point," said John Shannon, chairman of the mission management team. If the gouge is deep enough, the shuttle astronauts may have to patch it during a spacewalk, he said.

I presume a space walk will be necessary. Hopefully it's not serious, otherwise they don't have a lot of options. They can patch it, but I don't believe that's been tested (hopefully I'm wrong on that).
 
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  • #6
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That looks insignificantly small to me.
 
  • #7
Astronuc
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  • #8
Moonbear
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On yesterday's news, it was sounding like repairs were seriously being considered, and the discussion is revolving around how to repair it more than whether to repair it. It's starting to sound like teachers are jinxed for shuttle missions. At least this time, their training included how to make repairs...that's apparently been added or emphasized in their training.

Edit: Checking today's news, I'm getting a different impression, that they may not do any repairs. Apparently the location is more protected from heat of re-entry, so a gouge in the tile may not be a big risk. Nonetheless, the gouge is all the way through the tile, which is a bit scary sounding to me.
 
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  • #9
russ_watters
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One tile is all it takes. And that gouge looks relatively deep. I think they are still evaluating what to do, but it would seem to need repair. It depends on what the shear forces would be as they hit the upper atmosphere.

I know that Shuttles have returned with damaged tiles, but I haven't heard if any previous damage was comparable.

http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/images/shuttle/sts-118/html/s118e06229.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_shuttle_thermal_protection_system
As the wik link says (and I've heard this before), the shuttle sometimes loses entire tiles, so it takes a little more than that. I'm a little surprised NASA hasn't made that clear.

Simulations of the damage the Columbia took showed damaged area perhaps as big as a square foot, so it doesn't look to me like this would be anything to worry about.
On July 7, 2003 foam impact tests were performed by Southwest Research Institute, which used a foam block of similar size, mass and speed to that which struck Columbia. It created a hole 41 cm by 42.5 cm (16.1 inches by 16.7 inches) in the protective RCC panel.[19] The tests clearly demonstrated that a foam impact of the type Columbia sustained could seriously breach the protective RCC panels on the wing leading edge.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Shuttle_Columbia_disaster

I read some of that wik link and was dismayed at the similarities drawn between the Challenger and Columbia. We've talked about predicted failure rates before, but neither were really random - both were not only forseeable, but forseen and nothing was done to prevent them. Maybe it is a human nature thing (willfull ignorance), but managers in these sorts of life or death situations (the Big Dig incident too) need to be made to start taking their responsibilities more seriously. People need to be jailed for murder when these things happen.
 
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  • #10
Moonbear
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As the wik link says (and I've heard this before), the shuttle sometimes loses entire tiles, so it takes a little more than that. I'm a little surprised NASA hasn't made that clear.

Simulations of the damage the Columbia took showed damaged area perhaps as big as a square foot, so it doesn't look to me like this would be anything to worry about.

If you click on the NPR link Astronuc has from a few days ago, it leads to an updated story now. It comments on how the location of the damaged tiles are important too, that in the Columbia, the damaged tiles were on the wing, which heats up a LOT more on reentry than the belly, where the current damage is. It seems the location is more a factor from that story than the extent of the damage.
 
  • #11
Astronuc
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If you click on the NPR link Astronuc has from a few days ago, it leads to an updated story now. It comments on how the location of the damaged tiles are important too, that in the Columbia, the damaged tiles were on the wing, which heats up a LOT more on reentry than the belly, where the current damage is. It seems the location is more a factor from that story than the extent of the damage.
Repairs to Space Shuttle May Not Be Necessary
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12804570

If they can show Endeavour or other Shuttles have returned with similar damage, then OK - but that also depends on when (before, during or after) the tiles were damaged) and where.
 
  • #12
Moonbear
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Repairs to Space Shuttle May Not Be Necessary
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12804570

If they can show Endeavour or other Shuttles have returned with similar damage, then OK - but that also depends on when (before, during or after) the tiles were damaged) and where.

One of the articles I read today sounded like they were trying to balance the danger of NOT repairing it against the danger of doing more damage bumping into something else on a spacewalk in heavy suits and dragging along a big bag of tools for the repairs.

If they don't repair it, I guess we won't know if it was the right decision until reentry. I don't plan to watch it if they don't repair it, because I'd be too afraid to look. Better to just read the headlines later, either safe return home, or another shuttle disaster.
 

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