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Dr Mordrid
19th June 2006, 10:57
http://news.scotsman.com/scitech.cfm?id=895862006


Shuttle launch to go ahead despite risk of 'catastrophe'

JACQUI GODDARD AT CAPE CANAVERAL

NASA managers have rejected last-ditch pleas from their top safety officer and chief engineer to scrap next month's shuttle launch, saying that they will press ahead despite potentially catastrophic risks.

The head of the US space agency, Dr Michael Griffin, overruled warnings that there was a "relatively high" chance the shuttle's external fuel tank could shed some of its solid foam coating when it launches on 1 July, carrying seven crew including Briton Piers Sellers, an Edinburgh University graduate.
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During a weekend meeting at NASA's Kennedy Space Centre at Cape Canaveral, Florida, Dr Griffin gave the final nod for next month's mission, despite what he called an "intensive and spirited exchange" with senior colleagues who recommended a "no-go". "We have elected to take the risk," he said.
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Dr Griffin said that if the shuttle's thermal tiles are damaged by debris during launch, the vehicle would still make it safely into space. The danger, he said, would come during re-entry.

The astronauts could make minor repairs before coming down or take refuge in the International Space Station and await a rescue mission by a second shuttle, Atlantis. They need to shut that program down NOW (actually years ago) and start a crash program on the heavy lifter and CEV.....even if it takes buying some Soyuz's from Russia in the short term.

F***ing morons :mad:

Dr. Mordrid

az
19th June 2006, 11:07
Do you think this might have anything to do with the pride of vertain people very high up the command chain?

ZokesPro
19th June 2006, 11:27
So they can safely send them in space, but they have to repair the damned thinn so they can return, or, wait until someone comes and rescues them??? This IS NASA right? :confused:

degrub
19th June 2006, 11:34
Well, i like the rescue plan. We can get rid of both shuttles in a couple months :devious: Problem is all the drag on the space station will require more fuel, etc. ANd then there is the de-orbit problem...... actually 1/50 odds aren't too bad.. Better than you get with russian roulette :nervous: :dead:

Jessterw
19th June 2006, 11:38
That's exactly the problem, it is NASA. Well, the decision making side of it, which has seen fit to drive the entire space program into the ground by decades of incompetence.

F* morons is right. If I was an astronaut I would be having serious thoughts about telling them to take the flight, since they're so willing to "take the risk".

Dr Mordrid
19th June 2006, 12:00
My priorities;

1. heavy lifter, whose development would keep most of the shittle's launcher team intact and be able to put into LEO 4x the mass the shittle can lift.

2. the CEV and its SRB based launcher.

3. some kind of high impulse electric drive, be it VASIMR or whatever, and the compact (?PBMR?) reactor to power it. If a standard module were designed that allowed clustering there would be huge long term benefits.

Dr. Mordrid

degrub
19th June 2006, 12:01
Sure could free up $$$ for un-manned flight ! :classic:

rylan
19th June 2006, 16:12
Well heres the problem... they're never going to eliminate the chance of debris from the main fuel tank due to the basic design of it. Halting any more launches leaves them without any heaving lift or personel transport to the space station (besides the russian transport, which only supports a skeleton crew on the station) or to any other objects in earth orbit should somthing need repair.
I'm not saying its a good idea to launch, however there isn't another option in the near future, besides abandoning the ISS and letting it burn up.

Dr Mordrid
19th June 2006, 17:41
Halting any more launches leaves them without any heaving lift or personel transport to the space station (besides the russian transport, which only supports a skeleton crew on the station) or to any other objects in earth orbit should somthing need repair.We have already contracted to buy Soyuz rides at a fixed price through 2011 if necessary, so getting small crews up/down isn't an issue. It's worked since Columbia, soooo....

The orbital repair business is DEAD....get used to it.

The shittle can lift ~25 tons in its bay to Low Earth Orbit. The Delta IV Heavy can put ~28 tons into LEO, so shittle sized payloads shouldn't be a problem for it until the heavy lifter is available. Even the runt of the litter Delta IV Medium can put 9 tons in LEO.

Delta family;

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d5/Delta_rocket_evolution.png

IF NASA had started work on these interim solutions right after the Columbia report plus a crash program on a shittle derived heavy lifter they'd be a helluva lot better off now.

Dr. Mordrid

VJ
20th June 2006, 00:32
Idiots at NASA... :mad:
It gives a weird twist to the expression: "it's (not) rocketscience".


Jörg

rylan
20th June 2006, 07:01
Yeah, the Soyuz is working at getting small crews up/down to the ISS, however due to the limited payload capacity and lifesupport room, it means the space station is left with only a minimal crew that is basically only there to keep the station from falling apart... even if that much.

Yes they should've started work on other heavy lifters and transports, but they didn't... and its going to be years before anything else is ready.

Dr Mordrid
20th June 2006, 10:33
The way I see it there are 2 choices;

1. go into 'maintenance mode' using Soyuz's, using the shittle budget to accelerate development on the new systems. Presented properly the public will accept this as a wise decision and support it. Not a great option, but do-able and a better use of scarce resources.

2. take the risk of a shittle launch. If we lose another, or we have to risk another ship/crew mounting a rescue mission, you risk losing public and political support for the whole manned program.

Heaven knows the ramifications of having two damaged shittles parked at the ISS and no way to get 'em down :rolleyes:

I'll take #1 thank you.

Dr. Mordrid

Technoid
20th June 2006, 10:39
well theres another option, going back to the non enviromentally friendly insulation and tell the tree huggers that they can go **** a tree :p

Dr Mordrid
20th June 2006, 10:43
But chunks of that fell off too. The geniuses at NASA just didn't think 2 kg hitting the structure at 500+ mph was a big deal :rolleyes:

Side-saddle launching was a bad idea from day one and nothing will change that. So was the notion of a manned cargo launcher, aka 'space truck'. Two jobs needs two tools as multi-function tools end up doing neither well.

Dr. Mordrid

rylan
20th June 2006, 10:51
I forgot about the non enviro friendly insulation. Yes chunks of that fell off also, however it was much much smaller pieces.

Dr Mordrid
20th June 2006, 11:12
True enough. Tree-hugger foam was an immediate problem.

The first mission with enviro-foam resulted in 11 times more damaged thermal tiles on Columbia than the previous mission with the Freon-based foam.

In 1997 the NASA web site stated “308 hits were counted during the inspection, 132 were greater than 1-inch. Some of the hits measured 15 inches long, with depths measuring up to 1.5 inches. Considering that the depth of a tile is 2 inches, a 75 percent penetration depth had been reached.”

>100 tiles were damaged beyond repair using the tree-hugger foam, while the 'normal' count using Freon-based foam was ~40. Flaking foam was the chief suspect. IMO this is a moot point. That 40 tiles can be so severely damaged as to require replacement using the 'good foam' isn't all that encouraging.

Worse yet the EPA has exempted NASA from the CFC phase-out, but contrary to all common sense they haven't returned to the safer Freon-based foam :rolleyes:

Dr. Mordrid

Technoid
20th June 2006, 14:10
They knew all that and still sent shutles up :eek: :eek:

Dr Mordrid
20th June 2006, 15:10
Now you know why I'm in favor of the conservative approach. The $$ used to maintain/fix/launch that bucket of 1970's bolts would be far better used accelerating its replacements.

NASA names the contractors in a couple of months so now is the time to make the hard choices, not after another mission that turns out F.U.B.A.R.

Dr. Mordrid

az
20th June 2006, 15:31
I agree with you, Mordrid.

What I'm getting tired of, though, is to blame the environmentalists for the catastrophes. It's their job to point out dangers to the environment, and it's NASA's job to weigh that against the safety of the crews and decide one way or another. The people who allowed this to happen screwed up, not the people who said the old paint was damaging the ozone layer or something (nobody argues that they were wrong, but some people seem to think they should have been doing the NASA engineers' jobs).

Dr Mordrid
20th June 2006, 15:42
Agreed to a point, but if it hadn't been for the tree huggers lobbying against keeping the Freon foam the technocrats might have decided otherwise.

Everyone involved has a left nut in this fire, and the tree huggers should be no better than anyone else when it comes to bearing their share of the blame.

Dr. Mordrid

Dr Mordrid
22nd June 2006, 23:58
Arrrggghhhhhh!!!!!!

http://www.cfnews13.com/StoryHeadline.aspx?id=16646


In other NASA news, workers at the Kennedy Space Center damaged the external fuel tank for Space shuttle Atlantis.

NASA says the workers accidentally struck the tank with a mobile work platform, denting the foam.

The dent is about 3/8 of an inch deep on the upper part of the tank very close to the centerline.

That fuel tank is in the Vehicle Assembly building and is not the one scheduled to fly on next week's mission but it would be needed for Atlantis should it be called up for a rescue mission.

NASA says they will be able to make repairs in time for Atlantis's scheduled August mission and in time for its use as a rescue shuttle for Discovery.http://digitalvideo.8m.net/emoticon/wall.gifhttp://digitalvideo.8m.net/emoticon/wall.gifhttp://digitalvideo.8m.net/emoticon/wall.gifhttp://digitalvideo.8m.net/emoticon/wall.gif

Dr. Mordrid

Admiral
23rd June 2006, 09:47
Maybe they wanted to give further reasons to cancel the flight ? (the workers)
Or maybe not, who knows... let's hope nothing bad happens :)

[GDI]Raptor
24th June 2006, 04:22
Well,
The area on ET-118 that was damaged is not on the orbiter side of the tank, and some smal damages often happen during processing.


This week, while workers repaired a minor nick on the side of the ET-118 tank facing away from the shuttle, they noticed a couple of beads of water come out of the foam. It appears the water got into the stringers of the intertank during Hurricane Katrina. An inspection is under way and is planned to be completed this weekend or early next week. The work is not expected to affect the launch-on-need support for STS-121 or STS-115.
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/news/status-20060623.html

Brian Ellis
24th June 2006, 05:47
Worse yet the EPA has exempted NASA from the CFC phase-out, but contrary to all common sense they haven't returned to the safer Freon-based foam

That is simply not true.

The process of exemptions is quite complex. The EPA has zero power to grant exemptions; only the Parties to the Montreal Protocol have that power. The process is as follows:
1. anyone can apply for an exemption for a single, specific, application. In the USA, the EPA acts as intermediary between the applicant and the Parties. The EPA examines the application and does not forward it unless it meets five distinct criteria:
a) the applicant has the onus of proof that no non-ozone-depleting substance is suitable for the application and that he has made every effort to find a substitute
b) it must be shown that the use is necessary for the health and safety or is critical for the functioning of society
c) the applicant must show that he has taken all reasonable steps to minimise emissions of the substance
d) the applicant must show that he has taken all reasonable steps to minimise use of the substance
e) there is no available quantity of the substance from stockpiles, banks or recyclers.

2. If the EPA decide that the application is serious and justified according to these criteria, they will make a formal nomination for an Essential Uses Exemption (ESE) to the UNEP Ozone Secretariat (OS)

3. The OS will forward the nomination to the Technical and Economics Assessment Panel (TEAP) for evaluation.

4. TEAP will nominate either a Technical Options Committee (TOC) or an ad-hoc sub-committee of experts who will make a recommendation, which will be submitted to the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG) of the Parties.

5. The OEWG will make the formal request to the Parties at the next annual Meeting of the Parties (MoP) which makes the final evaluation based on the TEAP recommendations in the form of an official Decision.

6. Only when the Decision has been made can the EPA authorise the use of the substance by an applicant.

7. Assuming the EUE has been granted, the applicant must make annual returns of his usage and emissions. The EUE is automatically rescinded if he exceeds the quantity in a given time scale.

Each EUE is nominative and for a given application. With two exceptions, no global exemptions have been granted (a. for some analytical chemicals in laboratories and b. for metered dose inhalers).

It is therefore nonsense to say NASA have been granted a CFC exemption. In fact, NASA, along with their contractor Thiokol, have been granted only one EUE and that is not for a CFC but for 1,1,1-trichloroethane which is used for hand-wiping the Shuttle solid-fuel booster rocket casings to ensure adhesion of the insulation and of the fuel mix to the insulation. As it so happens, I was mandated as a member of the TOC that recommended the grant of this EUE and, in the course of this work, I visited two NASA sites and the Thiokol site in Utah where the boosters are made. So please credit me with knowing what I'm talking about.

I can't be absolutely sure, but I don't think any EUE has been granted for a foam-blowing application using CFCs, although it is possible that an application may have been made for using HCFC-141b as a replacement for CFC-11. It is unlikely that an EUE for CFC foam-blowing would be granted, because there are so many ways of blowing so many polymers. The total number of EUEs granted could probably be counted on your fingers and toes, world wide. I've been involved in 6 or 8 applications, many of which were granted but we recommended negatively in two cases, on good grounds, of course.

Anyway, I can assure you that, if NASA still use any CFCs, it is legacy use in refrigeration or aircon in pre-1996 equipment. They categorically do not use CFCs for current applications.

[GDI]Raptor
24th June 2006, 13:52
By the way, for good information about NASA and space flight in genereal, i recomand this page. They realy have good articles, and editors with alot of knowledge about NASA:

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com

Dr Mordrid
24th June 2006, 16:12
That is simply not true.

The process of exemptions is quite complex. The EPA has zero power to grant exemptions; only the Parties to the Montreal Protocol have that power. Uh-huh......right :rolleyes:

http://pubs.acs.org/cen/coverstory/83/8344NASA.html
Chemical and Engineering News

October 31, 2005
Volume 83, Number 44
pp. 26–29

In 1999, EPA looked to expand the rule dealing with CFCs. Under the new rule, NASA's use of CFC-11 containing BX-250 would come to an end. To avoid this situation, NASA successfully requested an exemption for use of foam containing CFC-11 for "applications associated with space travel." This exception gave the agency time to further develop a replacement, which led to the BX-265 foam applied with HCFC-141b.Let me clue you in about Americans and in particular American governmental agencies: they do exactly as they please, not giving a f*** about what some "protocol" expects. Also note that this happened under the Clinton Administration and not with the neocons :)

Anyway, I can assure you that, if NASA still use any CFCs, it is legacy use in refrigeration or aircon in pre-1996 equipment. They categorically do not use CFCs for current applications.That, sir, is precisely the problem!! Not to mention that side-saddle launching was a bad idea from the get-go.

Dr. Mordrid

Brian Ellis
24th June 2006, 23:55
Chemical and Engineering News

October 31, 2005
Volume 83, Number 44
pp. 26–29

In 1999, EPA looked to expand the rule dealing with CFCs. Under the new rule, NASA's use of CFC-11 containing BX-250 would come to an end. To avoid this situation, NASA successfully requested an exemption for use of foam containing CFC-11 for "applications associated with space travel." This exception gave the agency time to further develop a replacement, which led to the BX-265 foam applied with HCFC-141b.

That reportage is not strictly accurate. The use of CFC-11 as a foam-blowing agent is perfectly legal, provided that one uses CFC-11 manufactured before 1 January 1996 or recycled from old material. From the Protocol point of view, no EUE is required. Whether national permission is required is an internal affair. It would seem evident that this is what happened, as there has been no EUE granted for "applications associated with space travel", nor would there ever be with such vague terminology.

The situation with HCFC-141b is quite controversial. The Protocol has a phase-out plan (developed countries) for all HCFCs based on 1989 consumption + 2.8% of 1989 consumption of CFCs. 35% reduction 01.01.2004, 65% reduction 01.01.2010, 90% reduction 01.01.2015, 99.5% reduction 01.01.2020 and 100% reduction 01.01.2030 (from 2015 onwards, to permit maintenance of existing installations). However, HCFC-141b has a particularly high ozone-depleting potential and many countries have unilaterally applied national regulations restricting its use. This includes the USA and the EU. I'm not sure, but I believe it is now forbidden to use it for new solvent and foam-blowing uses but, as this would be a purely national restriction, it would be possible for the EPA to rule on exceptions.

I can assure you that the USA is very serious in its application of the Montreal Protocol, as is evidenced by the swingeing fines and prison terms imposed on anyone caught out contravening the regulations. The Administration knows damn well that if there were a deliberate flouting of the rules, the international sanctions imposed on the USA would reduce its export trade to almost zero. I can't remember the exact terms but, effectively, the importation of goods from an offending country would be banned, where such goods may have been made or transported in a vehicle/ship/plane that could use controlled ozone-depleting substances in its manufacture or use. To date, no country of the ~190 signatory Parties have had any such sanctions applied, nor do I think it likely it will ever happen. Even non-signatories (Taiwan and the Holy See) respect the terms for the same reasons.

Jessterw
28th June 2006, 19:31
It appears one voice of concern over the imminent launch has been 'relocated'.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/local/story/430600p-363026c.html


New York astronaut Charlie Camarda has been bumped from his top NASA engineering post for backing colleagues who questioned the safety of Saturday's planned space shuttle launch, NASA officials said yesterday.

[...]

Camarda, who flew aboard the troubled flight of Discovery last July, told colleagues in an e-mail that he was fired from his post as chief engineer at Houston's Johnson Space Center and given another NASA engineering job.

"I refused to abandon my position and asked that if I would not be allowed to work this mission that I would have to be fired from my position and I was," he wrote.

[...]