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OT: Making parts for the Space Shuttle

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  • OT: Making parts for the Space Shuttle

    Sometimes I see jokes here about how we're "not making parts for the Space Shuttle" when maybe something doesn't quite come out perfect. Well, apparently the folks actually working on the Space Shuttle have a "good enough" attitude too:

    http://science.slashdot.org/story/11...ain-Tank-Issue

    The main tank, ... employs an aluminum-lithium alloy .... Unfortunately, the batch of this alloy used in the tank that is currently mated with the Discovery shuttle appears to be of low quality. ... NASA has determined, through testing, that this low grade alloy has only 65% of the fracture strength of the nominal alloy typically used.

  • #2
    If they'd simply post a question here I'm sure we could get them up and running again... but they apparently are too proud to log in and ask.
    This product has been determined by the state of California to cause permanent irreversible death. This statement may or may not be recognized as valid by all states.
    Heirs of an old war/that's what we've become Inheriting troubles I'm mentally numb
    Plastic Operators Dot Com

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    • #3
      this sums it up for me


      It's a very sobering feeling to be up in space and realize that one's safety factor was determined by the lowest bidder on a government contract.
      Alan Shepard

      & makes me wonder how the hell they had so few real problems

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      • #4
        come on guys, that is what specs are for

        Tim

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        • #5
          Originally posted by tylernt
          Well, apparently the folks actually working on the Space Shuttle have a "good enough" attitude too:

          http://science.slashdot.org/story/11...ain-Tank-Issue
          That's not what I read out of that article:
          "NASA engineers have finally discovered the root cause of the cracks that have been found on space shuttle Discovery's main external tank. The main tank, one of the 'Super Lightweight Tank' models developed by Lockheed-Martin, employs an aluminum-lithium alloy developed by Lockheed-Martin specifically for this application. The new alloy is used in various structural stringers throughout the SLWT design. Unfortunately, the batch of this alloy used in the tank that is currently mated with the Discovery shuttle appears to be of low quality.

          NASA engineers have devised a potential fix to the problem that they are currently testing to ensure the repair will cause no unintended consequences."

          Euphemism of the year!

          So, how badly written is the contract that Lockheed-Martin can deliver a cracked fuel tank with 65% of the spec'd fracture strength, and NASA can't refuse delivery?
          Last edited by lazlo; 01-15-2011, 02:27 PM.
          "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

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          • #6
            Originally posted by lazlo
            So, how badly written is the contract that Lockheed-Martin can deliver a cracked fuel tank with 65% of the spec'd fracture strength, and NASA can't refuse delivery?

            About as well as most government contracts?.... like how come companies can tender for a job at $xxx million, end up at production at $ 2xxx million & eventually charge $4xxx million for the job? Then still get invited to tender for teh next contract?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by mike os
              About as well as most government contracts?....
              No doubt! Reminds me of the Hubble lens contract with Perkin-Elmer...
              "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

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              • #8
                Originally posted by mike os
                About as well as most government contracts?.... like how come companies can tender for a job at $xxx million, end up at production at $ 2xxx million & eventually charge $4xxx million for the job? Then still get invited to tender for teh next contract?
                Because we (govmt for the people by the people) let them?

                Tim

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                • #9
                  I sell fasteners to people building things for NASA....One is a cryogenic company building pressure systems to test parts and also makes actual parts for something else which they wont tell me what its for..

                  They other company is a mechanical construction company.. HVAC, piping systems etc....

                  They cryogenic company requires MTR's, they have no care where the material to make the bolts comes from.. Just must meet ANSI spec X.......So in order to sell to them, I have to buy from a company in PA that is known for importing low cost steel from China and India....in other words the MTR's are as good as the paper they are written on..

                  The mechanical company requires USA studs and nuts with not only MTR's, but also material certs to prove country of origin of the steel.....

                  Just a little real world experience for you

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                  • #10
                    Part of the problem is that the line at The Michoud Assembly Facility that makes the tanks has been shutdown since this is close to the last flight. They aren't making any more tanks. This is a blog entry that cites the condition http://jetlib.com/news/tag/michoud-assembly-facility/

                    Despite the pervasive attitude amount contractors, it must be pointed out that there was a typo in the specification on the Hubble Space Telescope mirror. It is the world's most precisely ground mirror, it just happened to be ground to the wrong specification. Fortunately, the precision of the mirror allows computer correction of pictures taken with it to near the original desired accuracy.

                    --Cameron

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Liger Zero
                      If they'd simply post a question here I'm sure we could get them up and running again... but they apparently are too proud to log in and ask.
                      the did come here, heard so many clowns saying they're not making parts for NASA that they thought they were being snubbed and the left, feeling sad and unwanted
                      .

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Mcgyver
                        the did come here, heard so many clowns saying they're not making parts for NASA that they thought they were being snubbed and the left, feeling sad and unwanted

                        Well now we've done it. Home Shop Machinists have WRECKED the space-program!


                        This product has been determined by the state of California to cause permanent irreversible death. This statement may or may not be recognized as valid by all states.
                        Heirs of an old war/that's what we've become Inheriting troubles I'm mentally numb
                        Plastic Operators Dot Com

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Mcgyver
                          the did come here, heard so many clowns saying they're not making parts for NASA that they thought they were being snubbed and the left, feeling sad and unwanted
                          ...and that's only after they got through the 5 pages of complaints about 5 page threads!

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by tmc_31
                            Because we (govmt for the people by the people) let them?

                            Tim
                            I disagree, it is because many of those in government respnsible for overseeing thse programs will sooner or later be working for the same people they are currently buying off and know that their renumeration will be in proportion to the degree they allow the company to rip us off

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                            • #15
                              Mike,

                              I respect your opinion and don't disagree with you. However, I think the problem is more deeply rooted than that. If I go on, this post will degenerate into a political rant. So, out of respect to all of you and to the forum rules, I will cease and desist.

                              Tim

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