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Spin Doctor
02-01-2003, 06:09 PM
I think that we all pray for the families of the seven NASA astronauts lost over North-East Texas earlier today. As I watch the coverage on CNN this afternoon I'm struck by the remarkable honesty and candor on the part of the NASA program director.

jr45acp
02-01-2003, 07:05 PM
Amen, Brother! I plan on lighting acandle at Mass tomorrow morning!

------------------
John B

Thrud
02-01-2003, 07:18 PM
My sympathy to the families of the American and Isreali astronauts. At least they died in a noble pursuit - Human kinds baby steps into space. It takes special people to take the extreme risks they do as pioneers in the final frontier - Requiem In Pace.

"To Engineer is Human" - we are not perfect, none of us. We all make mistakes. What is important is we learn to try avoid a second such occurance.

chip's
02-01-2003, 08:10 PM
I second dave's post. I wish all the families well.

SJorgensen
02-02-2003, 12:45 AM
The candor was evident. I know they all did their best. However I think all of the analysis of the foam piece that probably impacted the wing at launch was given too optimistic an analysis. Also, the first impression that the sensor readings and sensor failures were simply "sensor failures" is also a sign of complacence. The sensor reading of the tire pressure going “off the scale” was probably an indication that the tires exploded. In any case there was no capacity to repair any damaged shield-tiles, and no capacity to examine the underside of the craft in an EVA (I thought they had a device to fly around with?) I witnessed the destruction of the Challenger from Daytona Beach when I was studying Aeronautical Engineering. I remember what a cold day it was. The engineer that resolved that problem, the one that placed the blame on the gasket, didn’t have an easy time with the politics of the time. I hope things are different now. Many things should change. I will start the list and maybe others can add on.
(1) Telemetry does not replace the need for an on-board recorder. All space-vehicles should have a “black box”
(2) The only method of examining and recording the condition of the booster after launch now, is with film cameras. The film of course is not likely to be recovered. The use of film for this purpose should be stopped and digital cameras should be used so the information can be transmitted and preserved.
(3) A method of repairing tiles in flight must be developed. I thought they were just “glued” on. My brother thinks that maybe the glue doesn’t work in space. I think the glue is a catalyzed reaction like epoxy where all the reagents are contained in the mix. I don’t know why it wouldn’t work in space.
(4) There is no method to examine the underside of the ship. I don’t understand this problem. I thought an EVA was possible. I don’t see why robotic cameras can’t be used to examine every inch of the ship after launch. It seems critical to me, for the crew to know, fully well, the condition of the ship before attempting re-entry. If an examination was done, and damage was evident, the crew could have remained in space, docked at the space station, and waited for another ride. Some method for repairs must be made. This is a perfect mission for the space station.

Just a few thoughts and I will leave it to the experts. I know they will do their best. The Shuttle is quite outdated technologically and getting new technology on board is too difficult because of the system. This is (5) for them to fix.

Spence


[This message has been edited by SJorgensen (edited 02-02-2003).]

CCWKen
02-02-2003, 02:04 AM
The Columbia is (was) not equiped to "dock" with the station. (The only one of the four that was not modified) Other than that I agree. There should be some means of checking the heat tiles up there. Why couldn't they install TV cameras on the wing tips to view the bottom. Cameras are like $30 now. So what if they have to be replaced on each re-entry.
PS. I thought the tiles were siliconed on. ???

SJorgensen
02-02-2003, 03:28 AM
Thanks for your reply CCWKen, I know this was the first Shuttle and also it was the heaviest. It was retrofitted recently though. However I heard that it was too heavy to carry the big robotic arm that assisted in EVA's. Of course there were probably other considerations and the experiments didn't require it. In the future I hope the crew has the ability to do an EVA and at the very least to determine the status of their ship. Our best and our brighted individuals, have to have this information in order to make their decisions. To leave this to the people on the ground is wrong and it is prone to political manipulation. I have no reason to doubt them, but their level of security is different from someone that is actually in the aircraft. It is a common difference between pilots and controllers. Controllers think that they control the safety of the flight. Pilots think that they control the safety of the flight. There is bound to be a difference of opinion. As a pilot, I know that no one on the ground can help me, other that to give me information. Engineers think that there is no good in giving a pilot information if it is dire information. Well, if I am going to fly into the Sun, tell me.
I want to steer.
Spence

agbear
02-02-2003, 10:18 AM
Yesterday was somber day--The breakup of the Columbia hit close to
home--both in my heart and literally.
We were shooting grades for a building on a bare red clay hill yesterday
morning, when we looked up to see the space shuttle break up. The
visual effect was as if 5 jet airplanes were flying very close and then
flared out. There was a slight delay and then a long rumble like
airplanes breaking the sound barrier--only longer in duration and with a
growl. We were not sure it was the shuttle until we turned on the truck
radio. There was a large 3 x4' piece of the debris in the county road
near where we were working (Sandflat) and several pieces near my house
(Troup) The piece at Sandflat looked to be SS and had two tripple rows of rivits. One piece at Troup looked as if some pattern (tiles) had been attached. Several hundred pieces were found on and near a County road
close to my old farm at LaRue.
We mourn for the lost crew and grieve for their families. But this is a
loss to the US and the world. The scientific knowledge gained by these
technological pioneers has benefited us all and will continue to do so.
Bear

Techtchr
02-02-2003, 11:32 AM
I couldn't turn on CNN or any other TV station to see what happened. I couldn't do it. I remember watching the video of Challenger breaking up on takeoff and what a sad event it was. I hope the families will be OK and the NASA family will over come this tragic event.

Thrud is right, I believe his quote is from Henry Petrosky, "To Engineer is Human". Nobody wishes these things to happen, but they can become valuable learning experinces for our Enginneers and Scientists as well as our children. Hopefully they will have a team of scientists, engineers, and others like in the aftermath of the Challenger disaster, that will figure this thing out, and make the next generation of shuttles even better.

I teach a section of Engineering ethics each year in my class and we analize case studies such as the Challenger, and others. I am saddened that there is yet another case to look at, but glad that we will be learning from the valuable information obtained by Nasa and the brave Astronauts that gave their lives to try to make ours a little better.

Thank you

jfsmith
02-02-2003, 12:34 PM
There are a handful of people who pledge their lives to a higher ideal, sometimes they give up of their lives for that ideal.
These are the noblest of mankind.

Jerry

Spin Doctor
02-02-2003, 12:53 PM
Thank you all for your heart felt comments and prayers for the families of the crew. For once I'd like to see the group of individuals that in many ways are responsible IMHO for both the loss of Challenger and Columbia. That is the professional Politians in DC that would not approve the vehicle that NASA wanted but forced them into compromises that led to design faults that both NASA and DOD were forced to live with. The things that really stands out are the elimination of the air breathing engines for landing and the requirement that NASA go with the low bidder in the SRB design. Morton Thiokel was not only the cheapest it was also the worst.

L Webb
02-02-2003, 02:18 PM
That was a truly tragic event yesterday.
We also lost 8 pilots and crewmen in 2 helicopter accidents in the last week, one in Texas and one in Afghanistan.
My anger is with the fact that the astonauts are forced to use shuttles that are 20 years old. Production should never have been stopped on them. The politicians bitched about the cost of new shuttles while at the same time giving away billions of dollars to other countries around the world. If we are going to continue with the space program, which we should, then the equipment should be the best available with our current technology.
The brave men and women astronauts deserve nothing less than the best.
Les

wierdscience
02-02-2003, 05:10 PM
Yes it was a bad day for us all yesterday.We pray for the lost and their families,and try to change the conditions that lead to trajedy.I have noticed a continuing problem in NASA, it was said yesterday that this had been the fourth launch where foam had come loose from the external tank.Just like with Challenger where they knew the o-rings were being damaged by combustion gases in previous launches,just like they knew about pure oxygen atmosphere problems during the early stages of the Appollo program.These things come up and most of the time they keep on rolling the dice till something horrible like yesterday happens.They canceled the shuttles replacement by taking the risk that the shuttle fleet they have would last another 15 years,I believe that at this point it would be asking a lot to expect the remaining three to pick up the extra work load of Columbia.I also believe that some of the problem lies with us the American public where much like the days of Appllo 13 we have gotten to used to the news networks"oh-ya the space shuttle went up today"attitude.I can remember when it was televised can you?I think when we get complacet things go to hell quick!So yes I do pray for the families of the victims but I will pray even more for the crews in the future

RPease
02-02-2003, 07:31 PM
Yes, we "keep rolling the dice", but not "till something horrible like yesterday happens". We roll them because we have to take chances to develop new technologies. That's what it takes to make discoveries. That's what Columbus did. That's the Wright brothers did. That's what Chuck Yeager did. (Just to name a few). They just happened to be some of the ones that "survived" the "roll". There were many before them (and after) that didn't survive, but mankind didn't stop "rolling" because of the casualties. We adapted and persevered and eventually overcame (to an extent, and so far).

What we need to remember (IMHO) is that we can't let special interest groups prevent us from rolling the dice. Sure, it's fine to remind us of the dangers, just don't prevent us from taking the chances.

There aren't any "hard, clear answers" to space travel. If it were easy, anyone could do it. It took almost 5000 years to go from building pyramids to manned flight. We cannot expect to go from manned flight to space travel in 100 years. No doubt, a bunch of liberal types will try to work the whole event into some "legal responsibility" by someone. They are great at "forcing" legal responsibility, but fall very short on "taking" responsibility for their own actions or many of the types that they represent. Only in America can we sue organizations for our own stupidity. I (for one) don't have to be reminded that putting "hot coffee" in my lap is not a good thing to do. I am not an overly religious person (more of an agnostic, don't know what I believe in), but I (for one) don't think that it should be a crime for a school to have the word "GOD" in their motto or pledge. I think that an organization has the right to limit membership to anyone they want, just make the membership public knowledge. I don't think that any organization has the right be tax exempt. These and many others are my opinions, but I don't try to force them down people throats. Everyone has opinions. Sometimes we agree, sometimes not. The ability to reason between the good one's and the bad is what makes us human.

God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things which should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.
Reinhold Niebuhr (1892 - 1971)

Regards,

Rodger

nheng
02-02-2003, 10:17 PM
From a coffee break vantage point, I watched in horror as the Challenger exploded before my eyes on TV in '86. I feel like I just watched the same thing again and unfortunately, the reasons may be frighteningly similar ... bureaucracy.

Just finished watching NASA on Fox news about an hour ago. This poor crew could not conduct an EVA to go out and inspect the wing. If they could, they had no way to repair or replace broken or missing tiles. After years of attempts to develop repair methods, NASA concluded that repairs could not be done in space. The Columbia was not outfitted to dock with the space station ... nor with the Soyuz shuttle. What a ridiculous state of affairs !

Of course, my thoughts and prayers are with the families of these seven brave men and women. They died reaching for their dream and we who are still here need to make sure that our future space travelers are provided a ride which is a safe as technology affords.

O.T. slightly, but we're not making chips here anyway ... I'd like to see the media give similar, major attention to the brave crew members of the Blackhawks and other aircraft which have gone down recently during training and other missions. "Training mission" related deaths have received the same ho-hum, 30 second spots and attention similar to that mentioned above in regards to shuttle missions. Let's put faces and names on these brave young men and women and give them a moment of silence in the middle of all the other crap which is on tv today.

Den

jfsmith
02-02-2003, 11:55 PM
I think it was the movie Armgeddon, but it was something like this, "300,000 parts don't by the lowest bidder."

also from the movie, "most of have cars newer than the......"

We have lost three of the shuttle fleet and 14 human beings.

Jerry

Al Messer
02-02-2003, 11:57 PM
The space program is not the only program that has fallen on hard times due to mis-guided politicians cutting their funds. Just ask any E-6 in the U.S. Army about the equiptment with which HE is expected to defend this nation and hemisphere.

Thrud
02-03-2003, 12:17 AM
Rodger,

Excellent and poignant quote. Perhaps someday mankind will drop our petty differences and turn our hearts and minds towards the stars - working as one to achieve good for all of mankind and mother Earth.

Techtchr

Yes, it is the title of Henry Petrosky's book. Case studies in engineering failure analaysis from a humanistic viewpoint.

Den
Our servicemen (and ladies) are never given the credit they deserve for their thankless service to their home and country. November 11 is rememberance day in Canada - a day I take to reflect on the sacrifices of vets past and present of all wars, of our firemen, our police, and medical personnel that have helped keep the fabric of civilization intact for all of us.

God bless them all and protect them from harm - and thank (all of) you for your part in keeping us safe.

NAMPeters
02-03-2003, 12:50 AM
A sad time for all but progress for mankind if we do not let their deaths be in vain. We must keep on with the exploration of space to better understand who we are.

Just a small point from a designer. No matter how hard you try working with the specifications given you by the customer, doing the analysis and testing required to prove your design, iterating with customer on changes and design reviews attended, one thing you can not escape and that is "**** happens". This is a sad but true point. The thing here is to learn why and then not repeat the mistake.

The real sickening part of this sad event is the low lifes who seem to feel they need to make a buck off of this tragety or to collect momentos.

Prayers and thoughts to all affected by this tragety.



------------------
Neil Peters

DR
02-03-2003, 12:52 AM
This is obviously a tragedy, but would anyone care to explain to me why this is more of a loss than when 7 people are killed in a car crash? I'm speaking here of the loss of life, not the monetary loss.

Before you all start flaming me please believe I'm asking this seriously. The way some lives seem to be valued above others is something I've never understood.

Hopefully the country can put this event in perspective and not have to re-name half of out grade schools like was done after the Challenger blew up.

thanks in advance.

ibewgypsie
02-03-2003, 05:39 AM
Actually, that is the way I want to go too. Doing something I love. I know it is a loss, but at least they did get to see the scenery unlike the challenger. Imagine seeing the stars without all the pollution. I asked my family to cremate me if I die and scatter me over the north georgia mountains where I love to ride my harley.
Jokingly I told the girlfriend to put me in a douche bag and run me through one more time. She did not appreciate my humor.
Be happy, be nice to people cause tomorrow might not come for You or US Or Me..

Alistair Hosie
02-03-2003, 06:30 AM
I sometimes wonder if we take too many risks with our lives.I am so sorry for those people in the shuttle.It doesn't bear thinking about and I pray for all of them and their families.
However at other times on a day to day basis when we have people climbing up the side of skyscrapers just so they can be admired by the crowd gathered below .Drag racers,Rock climbers Freefall parachutists to name but a few.
God gives us a life and certainly in that life we must sometimes through no fault of our own face terrible risks I am thinking of the brave firefighters and police etc in the nine eleven disaster.
In the sake of the space shuttle the risks were calculated and the men and women at least thought there would be some purpose to the gamble they undertook which may benefit all of us in a way.
But there are those who take unecessary risks and then die and it surprises me that everyone wonders why. In those situations we as humans are simply gambling with fate.
I do not believe we should do that as it is for absolutely no good reason other than to be admired.
We in the Highlands of Scotland have year on year have complete idiots who go hill and mountain climbing against all odds and warnings,when the weather is atrocious and they are mostly ill equipped. Some even head up onto the mountains in tee shirts and trainers, but refuse advice, and still head out.
And time and time again a brave bunch of men and women have to go looking for them.When found they invariably sell their stories to the press for thousands and their rescuers get nothing but a small word of thanks in a few lines.
Headlines like How I survived three days in a blizzard etc .
They should be made to pay for the efforts of the men who go out looking for them for free as it is a volunteer service. Sometimes they too die in the search.What do these idiots tell their greaving families.
No I'm sorry we should not gamble with our lives in this way it is too precious a gift in some of these situations you are only moments from certain death but for them that only adds to the thrill.I say it is an insult to our Creator to gamble with our lives like this. He did not give us life to play Russian roulette with it thats my opinion sorry.Climbing up the side of a rockface or a high building no matter how skillful where you are only moments from certain death does absolutely no good to humanity and is only done to show off.It's the same with those idiots who jump off high buildings and freefall.Its plain wrong what if they land on somebody or cause an accident with traffic .
Then when they get into trouble the whole emergency system is out to help them at the cost of leaving some more needy cause waiting. My opinion for what its worth.Alistair

NAMPeters
02-03-2003, 10:51 AM
Alistair, the essence of being human is freedom, free to choose our actions good bad or indifferent. The other side of that coin is being responsible for our actions, i.e. paying the price either here or in the here after if that is your belief. Here in the States more and more jurisdictions are charging to "rescue" people from their follies. This is the way it should be IMHO.

------------------
Neil Peters

lynnl
02-03-2003, 12:50 PM
In the long run, that fosters an attitude of "I don't have to look out for myself, others (OSHA, EPA, Nat'l Safety Council, etc., etc.) will make the world safe for me."
That's not to say such agencies don't serve good purposes. Certainly as complex and hazardous as today's products, materials, procedures, and processes have become we need their services to keep us informed. But nevertheles I think their existence does diminish our level of caution.

lynnl
02-03-2003, 12:50 PM
In the long run, that fosters an attitude of "I don't have to look out for myself, others (OSHA, EPA, Nat'l Safety Council, etc., etc.) will make the world safe for me."
That's not to say such agencies don't serve good purposes. Certainly as complex and hazardous as today's products, materials, procedures, and processes have become we need their services to keep us informed. But nevertheles I think their existence does diminish our level of caution.

lynnl
02-03-2003, 01:18 PM
In the long run, that fosters an attitude of "I don't have to look out for myself, others (OSHA, EPA, Nat'l Safety Council, etc., etc.) will make the world safe for me."
That's not to say such agencies don't serve good purposes. Certainly as complex and hazardous as today's products, materials, procedures, and processes have become we need their services to keep us informed. But nevertheles I think their existence does diminish our level of caution.

Alistair Hosie
02-03-2003, 01:25 PM
To put what I am saying regarding the Scottish mountain rescue team one woman recently got fifty thousand for her story. About how she survived the cold and when asked if she would donate anything to the rescue services she said boldly why should I. They should be paid by the government it shouldn't be left to people like me to pay into a charity,this service should be provided by the state.In other words although she was blatantly at fault and had ignored all advice offered , and was not even experienced, she decided to go and take the chance. When it didn't work out it was everybody elses responsibility to get her out of her self imposed mess and she was technically right and was fifty grand the better for it makes me sick.Someone climbing up the side of a building and falls off and lands on a group below are they exercising their right to freedom when the race car goes into a crowd of people is that responsible causing many many deaths sorry I think not Alistair

Rotate
02-03-2003, 01:38 PM
DR, you raise a good point. I guess to a statistician, it really doesn't make any difference whether the 7 who died are from motor vehicle accidents or disaster of this nature.

However the 7 crew members are not just anonymous fatalities. They are individuals who represented the dreams and aspirations of all of us. We identified with what they were doing in a personal way and when they die, we grieve for them in a personal way.

Albert

docsteve66
02-03-2003, 03:52 PM
I hope a few things about the shuttle crew and NASA>
First: That NASA actually felt the mission was still safe when (IF?) the insulation was damaged at lift off.
Second: I hope the crew was informed of potential risk increases (if known) so they could take a few moments to resolve, privately, any unfinished "business" behind them.

Alistair: I agree a man should not risk his life casually. The "thrill seekers" should be made to pay whatever price we inccur in the process of them getting their jollies.

But in defense of both the Thrill seekers and the people who enage routinely in dangerous work- I think no man can feel more "ALIVE" than when he is facing an acceptable risk for what he feels is worht while purpose, Every sound is felt as well as heard, the texture ofthe dirt you lay on if felt, smells are more intense. There can be no better way to die than risking life for a worth while purpose. The shuttle crews must have felt the intense emotions accompaning risks many times before the final accident. While in a dangerous situation, I think most feel intense fear,but its controlled fear, they want more than any thing else to make it though just one more time and "never more" will I do this. Then When the next need arises, they (unless they are thrill seeeker only) rationaly say, its dangerous, but I done it before, I have best chance of doing it again, none have volunteered so guess I will test my "luck" (ain't no such thing as "luck" to a man who is taking risk, only good plannig and bad, (the planning ain't neccessarily HIS/HER planning either).

And 7 deaths due to trafffic are not the same as 7 taken forwarding the race. We just pushed old darwin again. Hope these crewmen/Women have dropped in some form or fashion those genes.
Steve

Oso
02-03-2003, 05:48 PM
People are made so that we can accept risks as noted above. Some can even accept sacrificing themselves deliberately to save others to whom they are not related (family is a given). This isn't bad, its just a fact.

The idea that this is bad and should be stopped is one which surfaces fairly regularly. With due apologies in advance, it often comes from inside Europe, for reasons which I cannot understand. Something cultural I guess.

When it comes to endangering others, that is different. You can endanger yourself, but others should choose for themselves.
Dumb rockclimbers used to just die, without heroic efforts made on their behalf That is effective herd-thinning, to be hard-hearted about it. Dumb tribe members became examples.

As to why we should pay more attention to the shuttle crew than 7 random traffic victims?
Since they were involved in doing something to advance the nation and world, it is appropriate to recognize them at the national level.

As to them being somehow "better people" than the 7 random traffic victims, I don't seriously think anyone thinks that.

lynnl
02-03-2003, 06:09 PM
I agree with your last comments Oso. Obviously to the close friends and survivors of 7 traffic fatalities the grief is every bit as profound and absolute, because they knew and can identify with the departed souls. Likewise, tho to a somewhat lesser extent, the loss of highly public figures such as the astronauts, or Princess Diana, JFK, Ted Williams, John Lennon, etc., and even the nameless (to most of us) victims of the WTC terrorist attack, stirs in us a sense of closer 'identifying with' or 'knowing' the victims. So that the public at large shares in the grief and sense of loss. But when there's enough media attention to draw us closer to the details we, the public, do share a sense of grief in those instances as well. I'm thinking here for example of highly publicized child murders, and events such as the Columbine school shootings. In other words, it's not a matter of more or less compassion, but one of 'involvement'.

wierdscience
02-03-2003, 08:39 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by RPease:
Yes, we "keep rolling the dice", but not "till something horrible like yesterday happens". We roll them because we have to take chances to develop new technologies. That's what it takes to make discoveries. That's what Columbus did. That's the Wright brothers did. That's what Chuck Yeager did. (Just to name a few). They just happened to be some of the ones that "survived" the "roll". There were many before them (and after) that didn't survive, but mankind didn't stop "rolling" because of the casualties. We adapted and persevered and eventually overcame (to an extent, and so far).

What we need to remember (IMHO) is that we can't let special interest groups prevent us from rolling the dice. Sure, it's fine to remind us of the dangers, just don't prevent us from taking the chances.

There aren't any "hard, clear answers" to space travel. If it were easy, anyone could do it. It took almost 5000 years to go from building pyramids to manned flight. We cannot expect to go from manned flight to space travel in 100 years. No doubt, a bunch of liberal types will try to work the whole event into some "legal responsibility" by someone. They are great at "forcing" legal responsibility, but fall very short on "taking" responsibility for their own actions or many of the types that they represent. Only in America can we sue organizations for our own stupidity. I (for one) don't have to be reminded that putting "hot coffee" in my lap is not a good thing to do. I am not an overly religious person (more of an agnostic, don't know what I believe in), but I (for one) don't think that it should be a crime for a school to have the word "GOD" in their motto or pledge. I think that an organization has the right to limit membership to anyone they want, just make the membership public knowledge. I don't think that any organization has the right be tax exempt. These and many others are my opinions, but I don't try to force them down people throats. Everyone has opinions. Sometimes we agree, sometimes not. The ability to reason between the good one's and the bad is what makes us human.

God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things which should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.
Reinhold Niebuhr (1892 - 1971)

Regards,

Rodger

</font>

wierdscience
02-03-2003, 09:06 PM
Yes it is neccesary to take risks,however sould we take the same risks over and over? I don't think so.You mentioned the Wright brothers and Col.Yeager both of whom took the the risk of first flight but when problems and deficencies were found they were corrected.This has not always been the case with NASA.My next door nieghbor works in the MICHOUD,LA. plant that produces the external tank and he told me that they knew the had trouble on at least four earlier flights mainly because when the orbiters landed damage was dicovered to the craft and back tracked to the insulation problem.Yet no appropriate action was taken because the risk was "acceptable" even though it was cuasing damage to the spacecraft.This is the same as with Challenger's o-ring failure.We haven't killed anyone yet so keep rolling the dice maybe we will get lucky.Also as to the budget question raised by the media I believe that given the reality of the cuts made by the Clinton addmi.the decision to delay the robotic programs in order to make the nessicary improvments to the manned craftbeen madeThis was not done and failures in both programs occured with freqency.Seven lives and thirteen craft/projects later will we learn from our mistakes I truly hope so![QUOTE]Originally posted by RPease:
[B]Yes, we "keep rolling the dice", but not "till something horrible like yesterday happens". We roll them because we have to take chances to develop new technologies.

[This message has been edited by wierdscience (edited 02-03-2003).]

Rustybolt
02-03-2003, 09:19 PM
The journey of discovery is always frightening and often dangerous.
How many ships and crews litter the bottom of the worlds oceans in our quest to discover new lands ,to find new routes. How many bodies of men, bones bleached white ,lay unburied. Who died in their quest to find what lies beyond the next mountain range.
I believe its in our nature to ask"what if" and go in search of the anwer.
While its good to mourn their death, I envy them their life. To do what you love to do.
How many of us will face death doing what we do now?

Georgeo
02-03-2003, 09:53 PM
I spent about 25 years in the aerospace business, though not the tiles. I do know, however, that almost every tile is custom molded for its own location, due to the wing and body curvatures. I really think there's no way to repair tile loss in flight; they would have to have a cargo-bay full of tiles, and hope they had the right one with them.
That aside, the NASA spokesman is a real professional, and feels this loss more than any of us can.
The best and the brightest--God bless them.
George

Toolmaker Extrodinair
02-03-2003, 11:02 PM
It was a tragedy indeed. Both for Nasa and our goverment. My only question is why did they let the liftoff incedent go? If you wreck your mill you go back and verify everything you do not assume anything. Maybe its just me but it seems as if no one really cares about quality anymore, its all for the almighty dollar anymore.

wierdscience
02-03-2003, 11:23 PM
Tool Maker,I believe it is human nature to push the limits of what you can get away with,especialy if no one is looking.My father and quite a few of his friends and coworkers were forced to quit or laid off by a NASA contractor just before they were eligble for retirement.My old man worked for the bastards for 27 years and had a perfect work record.He and everyone else he worked with got screwed out of thier retirement and were left holding the bag when Clinton cut the budget 800million$ in his first year.I can tell you from seeing his struggles that getting a new job at58years old is next to impossible.He told me that he can see why there is no longer any employee loyalty in this country and it is sad to say that the lack of it kills team work.

charlie coghill
02-03-2003, 11:24 PM
Hi All;

Does anyone know how fast the shuttle was going when 80 sec into the launch?

On the news tonight they said that the piece of foam that broke off of the external tank weighted about two pounds.

If the two pounds was right and at the speed the shuttle was going that had to be a terffric inpact and personaly I would have been concerned.

I would think that would have been like dropping a water mellon off of a overpass and hitting it at 60 miles per hour.

I think that the people that died in the shuttle is not any more important than anyone who dies on the highway, but it was what they were doing that made them more important. Also it is what our left wing news meda can use to gain rattings.

This was said earlier but just my two cents worth.
Charlie

[This message has been edited by charlie coghill (edited 02-03-2003).]

wierdscience
02-03-2003, 11:38 PM
Charlie,my nieghbor says the two pound is b.s. from the media he says probly more like 25#and the size of a car door.I had heard the speed figure before and can't be sure but I think it was about mach 3.5.Also the foam in question has a kind of hard skin to it about like leather.He also said that remember in the early days they used to paint the tanks white?Well they quit the paint to save wieght which it did but they left the primer on to make sure the foam would stay in place.Later they did away with the primer too.He said the story about the tank used on Columbia being an older design is true there is nothing wrong with the tanks structuraly but some doubts have been raised in the past about the foam and wether they should be used or stripped an re foamed.

Jaymo
02-04-2003, 12:57 AM
How come the media don't make a big deal about the number of US servicemen killed in Sikorsky Crashhawks, I mean, Blackhawks. That chopper has to have the worst safety record of them all. I've never heard of so many chopper crashes with Hueys, Cobras, Chinooks, Jolly Green Giants, Apaches, etc. What gives? A helluva lot of those b@st@rds have crashed in their relatively short service record.

SJorgensen
02-04-2003, 01:46 AM
Some brilliant people staff Nasa. How they compare to the pioneers of the technology, I don't know. There is a broad range of positions, and each has their own considerations and priorities, and each is necessary. However, it often happens that the most self-serving ass-kissing person is put in the cold position of doing the "risk assessment" of whether to go, or not to go. It is easy to say "no go" when the circumstances have been PROVEN hazardous. It must be hard to say "no go" when everything looks good, except for some unknown factor, and when the costs of stopping are so tremendous. Every “Go” under unknown circumstances, does carry that extra risk, but it pushes forward the envelope of what we know, even when people die. Such was the case with the Challenger on that below-freezing Florida morning. However the public wasn't aware of the evidence of gasket burn-through from prior missions. This is why the pilot in command, should be the only one to make this final flight decision. I assume the Pilot was informed of the evidence of gasket burn-through, but I don’t know. I don’t know if the Pilots of the Columbia were aware of the insulation separation problem. I know the public was not informed.

It shouldn't be necessary for a disaster to happen, to convince the purse holders that some re-engineering work needs to be done. Some of this work should be set back on the contractors shoulders, especially when their product or methods are proven inadequate. When the first signs of insulation separation during launch were shown, action should have been taken, and improvements made. The product must perform properly under the environment specified. It is through the failures that we learn what is needed, but it doesn’t have to cause a tragedy before action is taken.

When Richard Feynman was looking into the causes of the Challenger accident he interviewed a roomful of engineers and a manager. He asked them to write on a piece of paper their assessment of the overall risk of an accident with the shuttle (The “official” assessment was 1/100,000. He knew that was bull****.) Most assessed 1/200 and one was 1/300 and the manager had written a figure of 1/unknown factor, but he defended the 1/100,000 figure. I am paraphrasing what is in Richard Feynman’s book. I think the facts would put the current risk at somewhere near 1/75. Maybe someone can help with this calculation. Whatever the mathematics that were used to calculate the damage caused by that insulation piece on this last mission, it will probably be proven to be as valid as the mathematics that were used to arrive at a risk factor of 1/100,000. Only well paid managers know how to do that kind of bull**** mathematics.

Several times during my years at Embry Riddle in Daytona Beach, I tried to witness a launch from the air. I would arrive near Cape Canaveral at the proper time (at the edge of the protected airspace of the time.) The patrolling A-10’s would fly up and salute me as they moved on to the next aircraft. I loved it. All these launches were scrubbed and I never begrudged them for scrubbing, and I never regretted the expenses of those flights.

Spencer


[This message has been edited by SJorgensen (edited 02-04-2003).]

SJorgensen
02-04-2003, 03:22 AM
nheng,
I know NASA concluded that there was no way to repair the special tiles on the shuttle or to maintain that inventory of specially manufactured tiles, but really the requirement changes considerably when you are in space and have a repair requirement. Now the overall weight of the material would not be a considerable factor (if you have it available at the space station.) I think that there are many lightweight refractory concrete products that would do the trick for a temporary repair. You can bet that these options will be considered. It is too bad that they weren't available last week and that the damage wasn't better known. Lets see what solutions they come up with, now that the pressure is on to do something about it. (Assuming, as I think it will be determined, that this was the problem.)

Spence

Thrud
02-04-2003, 03:30 AM
Spencer

I asked Mark Garneau (nice guy) about the risks involved when he had visited our University for a lecture - he said back then the risk was 1% certain death. This figure was brought up by another Canadian astronaut interviewed saturday afternoon on CBC radio.

That is a reasonable assessment based on close observations of rocket science in that last 700 years. Flying bombs. Once you light the solid fuel rockets, you are committed - good or bad.

What everyone seems to fail to understand is that regardless of the reason, it could have been fine before entry and then hit with space junk. The shuttle has been hit by paint flakes smacking into the windshield at 25 Kilometers/second that nearly punched a hole through it. So this may very well get chalked up to "**** Happens" - unavoidable circumstance. And if they were hit by space garbage once committed to re-entry - there is no turning back, and no way to safely eject at mach 18.3!!!!

[This message has been edited by Thrud (edited 02-04-2003).]

abn
02-04-2003, 03:58 AM
A point mentioned on one of my mail lists for a radio show made me shudder a bit...agbear mentioned the debris on the road near where he was working, thank god it wasn't 29Kilos(?) of plutonium fines from the Cassini mission spread over north Texas. What about the stated direction (Science Friday about a month or so ago) towards a nuclear propulsed Mars mission? I love limit engineering from racecars to spaceships, and if I didn't have a family I would seriously consider going to space even if it was certain I wouldn't make it back I assume the Astronauts have a bit of the same attitude, but my feelings go out to their families. But the relative ease that we have come to live with nuclear tech scares me a bit.

wierdscience
02-04-2003, 11:41 PM
Jaymo,guy I worked with flew Huey's in Vietnam he said in the early days crashes occured often during testing some times three and four a day.However the war got started up and it was sometimes hard to tell what cuased all the scrap metal.I think the same situation will be present with the v-22 Osprey lots of unknowns there.The guy I knew wasn't all together there mentaly I thought it was because of the war but his brother told me the war actually helped calm him down!He did have a good analogy of a heilo. however he said that a chopper is "10,000 parts all pushed beyond their limits trying to see who can fail first"! http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

Thrud
02-05-2003, 12:04 AM
abn:
A great deal of research has gone into packaging nuclear materials to prevent leakage under extreme conditions - explosions, fires, high velocity rail gun impacts, etc. Radioactive heat source capsules (for thermal power generators) are nearly indestructable unless deliberately tampered with. A mere rocket explosion has little chance of causing this.

That being said - an Idiot can accomplish the impossible...

Jaymo
02-05-2003, 03:04 AM
Wierdscience
One of my instructors in tech school flew in, and got shot up in a Jolly Green Giant in Nam. He used to tell us very interesting things about how the military treats their aircraft. He told us that they used to overload the Hueys so badly that they would "hop like frogs" down the runway trying to take off. I also remember stories of the Cessna 337(If I remember correctly) Mixmasters being way overloaded also. He used to show us pictures of his birds after getting shot up on missions. I remember big rocket holes through the fuselage, bulletholes everywhere and that Sikorsky would still make it back to base. Funny thing was he was Air Force. He said he went Air Force because he figured he'd never go into combat in a chopper. Jet, yes, but chopper combat, no, that was for the Army and Marines. Much to his chargin he was wrong. I remember the war got to him. It's hard to watch a man that you respect and admire so much, break down in tears in front of a bunch of early 20s kids. Hard to watch. Best damned mechanic I've ever met, too.

wierdscience
02-05-2003, 10:23 PM
Jaymo,I know lots of vetsWWII on to present.and God I got to say I love'm all.What you said about the treatment of aircraft in the service is entirely right,they do push them well past their limits.Hell they have to!The Huey had a lot of its parts manufactured about 80 miles away in Meridian,Ms my mother had two uncles that worked there think(long time ago) they said mostly airframe componets and wiring.The thing to remember is the Huey was a bit more advanced than what came before it,so their is always the quantum leap that takes place at first flight.After all it wasn't long before that when a Helio. was a radial engine flipped over on its back.In any aircraft the first few prototypes always have problems,history is littered with many that never made it into production because they killed everyone that ever flew them .Others because they looked good on paper but plain wouldn't fly.My father served in the Navy on the Independence he saw daily the abuse aircraft are put through,he once saw a Vigi fly straight through a flight guard Heilo,the amazing thing about it was no one got killed!Mostly broken bones,but at the same time people would manage to get killed doing some ordinary thing people do everyday.In the end I guess it pays to be at peace with our maker.

gizmo2
02-05-2003, 11:19 PM
A question for ya'll to ponder. If you got a call tomorrow and they said, "We're going to launch another shuttle next week and we've got room for one more." Would you go? I'd do it in a heartbeat! My coworker surprised me; a former skateboard thrasher, said NO WAY, DUDE! They have had many successful missions and very few f'ups, given the complexity of the craft and the severity of the environment. The earth would still be flat if we didn't push the horizon. Hopefully, we will continue to go where man doesn't belong. Top of the world, bottom of the oceans, and further into space. While WE may grieve the loss, I would be willing to bet my lunch money that not one of those crewmen feels cheated of life.

Thrud
02-05-2003, 11:31 PM
gizmo2:
If they told me I had to sit naked on the nose cone with my hairy ass crazy glued to the rocket I would still say "When do we leave?"

240GTRZ
02-05-2003, 11:37 PM
Thrud,

And where is the site that has those pictures? LOL

Dan

mjydrafter
02-06-2003, 03:59 PM
1st my thoughts are with the families and the lost crew.

Just for information purposes and to a get some machining into this disscussion, the tiles used on the outside of the shuttle are machined to very exact tolerences. (the material coming off looked more like smoke/fine powder than chips). So like it was stated, they'de have to fill the back of the shuttle up with spares. I would guess a very large map of where they are placed would also be nessescary as well. Each one has a number and fits just so on the craft. They are then sealed (painted) to make sure they don't absorb water, this covers the numbers and gives the shuttle that professional look.
When you consider the complex and dangerous nature of travelling off this planet it's really a wonder that thousands haven't died in this pursuit. And yes I would probably go if they asked me.

lynnl
02-06-2003, 05:14 PM
It's always easy in hindsight, to see that 'yes, more should've been spent to insure more redundency, more repair capability, etc. ... "shoulda gone with the High bidder" instead of Lowest. But in every thing we do, there're always resource constraints that force compromises. Everyone feels the pressure, from the appropriation committee members down thru all of NASA's management and engineering staff. I too (again with the benefit of hindsight) think it a bit unsafe to have 2 or 3 lb chunks of debris flying back and hitting those tiles at mach3+, as critical as they are to the structural integrity of the craft upon reentry. (Aircraft birdstrikes at far lower speeds have certainly taken their toll over the years.) But then I know nothing about all the relevant factors NASA had to consider in not dealing with that over the years, or why something (???) wasn't done differently.

Those large fuel tank systems (that shed the foam) are managed by Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) here in Huntsville. Yesterday's paper had an article describing some modifications to the finishing or coating process of the insulation, that was mandated by EPA regulatory changes a few years back. Don't know if that made them more or less likely to crumble and shed, but it does illustrate how regulatory action by one agency can work (possibly) to the serious detriment of other activities.

BTW, what's the melting point of Titanium? Wonder why that wasn't used in place of aluminum?

Spin Doctor
02-06-2003, 05:54 PM
With all the talk from NASA about the flight control system having a hard time keeping Columbia in the proper flight attitude due to higher than normal drag on the left wing it sure seems likely that there was significant tile damage on the port side. It seems to me that the excessive drag finally caused the bird to tumble and the areodynamic forces tore it apart. I wish that the news media would quit saying that Columbia blew up. The same for Challenger too. Both vehicles were lost when they were exposed to forces that over whelmed the aiframes. As to the External Tank shedding foam insulation that I find really disturbing but it really doesn't seem as big a problem as shedding ice due to large differences in density.
I personally think that the time has come to retire the schuttles and procede with a smaller crewed vehicle for manned launches and convert the SRB and ET combination to a non man rated heavy liftvehicle. About ten years ago the Air Force did an engineering study on a proposal called Black Horse. A delta winged airframe looking almost like a minurature schuttle that took off from a conventional runway on jet engines. At the apropriate altitude it would rendevous with a KC-135 or KC-10 and top off the tanks. Light the candle and go. IIRC there were no major show stoppers in the proposal with the exception of money.

Spin Doctor
02-06-2003, 05:58 PM
With all the talk from NASA about the flight control system having a hard time keeping Columbia in the proper flight attitude due to higher than normal drag on the left wing it sure seems likely that there was significant tile damage on the port side. It seems to me that the excessive drag finally caused the bird to tumble and the areodynamic forces tore it apart. I wish that the news media would quit saying that Columbia blew up. The same for Challenger too. Both vehicles were lost when they were exposed to forces that over whelmed the aiframes. As to the External Tank shedding foam insulation that I find really disturbing but it really doesn't seem as big a problem as shedding ice due to large differences in density.
I personally think that the time has come to retire the schuttles and procede with a smaller crewed vehicle for manned launches and convert the SRB and ET combination to a non man rated heavy liftvehicle. About ten years ago the Air Force did an engineering study on a proposal called Black Horse. A delta winged airframe looking almost like a minurature schuttle that took off from a conventional runway on jet engines. At the apropriate altitude it would rendevous with a KC-135 or KC-10 and top off the tanks. Light the candle and go. IIRC there were no major show stoppers in the proposal with the exception of money. G*****n it a double post again

[This message has been edited by Spin Doctor (edited 02-06-2003).]

Oso
02-06-2003, 06:20 PM
as far as the repair, the concept was not to stock every shape of tile, but to use a goop that would set up in any given shape, as a temporary. That seems reasonable, although the material was not deemed practical to use, probably for other reasons.

A material like that could even be a somewhat ablative material like on the Apollo and mercury craft, given that you just have to get the bird back. After that you can repair it right.

It would have made sense to use fewer sizes & shapes of tile, too, as then stocking could be drastically reduced.

And, apparently many missions have been successful with what sounds to have been very significant tile damage. Areas a foot square, etc. There must have been something different about it, more damage, or different damage location, etc this time.

lynnl
02-07-2003, 10:31 AM
One bit of rationale that Mr. Dittemore cited in one of the press conferences, was a concensus within NASA that due to the maneuvering difficulty to make the repair, there was a real danger of doing more damage to other tiles than what they would be trying to fix.

Tibertus
02-07-2003, 01:42 PM
I can't remember if it was John Glenn or Alan Shepard that said you really get a wake up call when you're sitting on top of pretty much a roman candle built by the lowest bidder.
After watching some of the family members speak, they knew the risks and so did the crew members. But like Thrud, they had to go, they had to see the greatest show there currently is. Rest in peace. Man how I completely understand that desire and respect those that live it.
Thrud, I'd buy the super glue for your trip.

Peace

I'd go but I'm afraid I'd say I don't want to come back to earth.

wierdscience
02-07-2003, 09:23 PM
As far as the tile shapes problem is concerned I understand that each tile has its own serial number for i.d. purposes.If that is the case the shape of each tile is on record some where.These are the days of computers it would seem to me that it would be a simple matter of printing out the shapes of the missing tiles on a printer or fax machine and then cutting them to the desired shape. The tile material should cut easily with a diamond saw blade and I believe it could be done by the astronouts on site as for attaching them simply predrill the tile for some self tapping screws made of a high heat alloy and recessed below the surface.The slight difference in expansion would not effect the performance of the surounding tiles.

Thrud
02-07-2003, 11:20 PM
wierdscience:
Cutting them with a diamond saw would be feasable, but they are also of differing thickness and composition as well. They are glued on because the heat would melt any fasteners attached through the surface. One property of these tiles is one side can be red hot and you can touch your hand to the other side. They are also precisely fitted so there is an even seam line and then the seam is filled with heat resistant caulk - otherwise it would make no difference, burnout would still occur. It is a difficult job on the ground, let alone in space wearing snow mitts in a stiff snow suit (as it were).

Tibertus

Thanks for the offer - write your congressman to send "fat guys into space". It would be nice to feel weightless once without out children screaming "Whale on the beach!" http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif