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In Honor of the Near End to NASA's Shuttle Program, 

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Old 03-01-2011, 01:14 PM
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Re: In Honor of the Near End to NASA's Shuttle Program,

Good riddance.

Originally Posted by joak View Post
but they get all fucking fat and useless.
i'm not sure i'd have the patience to deal with an aging pig.
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Old 03-01-2011, 06:40 PM
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Re: In Honor of the Near End to NASA's Shuttle Program,

Originally Posted by ChockFullOfChock View Post
Educating your children is more important than even leaving them an inheritance. In the USA they've ruined education and left the kids with a whopping debt.

Isn't spending other people's money what communists do?
thats not what Communism is you know.

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Old 03-05-2011, 09:06 PM
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Re: In Honor of the Near End to NASA's Shuttle Program,

In regards to the Columbia Disaster: NASA had been warned that foam insulation on the space shuttle's external fuel tank could sheer off as it did in the 2003 Columbia disaster - a problem that has plagued space shuttle flights since NASA switched to a non-Freon-based type of foam insulation to comply with Clinton administration Environmental Protection Agency regulations.

"Despite exhaustive work and considerable progress over the past 2-1/2 years, NASA has been unable to eliminate the possibility of dangerous pieces of foam and ice from breaking off the external fuel tank and striking the shuttle at liftoff," the agency's Return-to-Flight Task Force said just last month, according to The Associated Press.

But instead of returning the much safer, politically incorrect, Freon-based foam for Discovery's launch, the space agency tinkered with the application process, changing "the way the foam was applied to reduce the size and number of air pockets," according to Newsday.

"NASA chose to stick with non-Freon-based foam insulation on the booster rockets, despite evidence that this type of foam causes up to 11 times as much damage to thermal tiles as the older, Freon-based foam," warned space expert Robert Garmong just nine months ago.

In fact, though NASA never acknowledged that its environmentally friendly, more brittle foam had anything to do with the foam sheering problem, the link had been well documented within weeks of the Columbia disaster.

In February 2003, for instance, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported:

"NASA engineers have known for at least five years that insulating foam could peel off the space shuttle's external fuel tanks and damage the vital heat-protecting tiles that the space agency says were the likely 'root cause' of Saturday's shuttle disaster."

In a 1997 report, NASA mechanical systems engineer Greg Katnik "noted that the 1997 mission, STS-87, was the first to use a new method of 'foaming' the tanks, one designed to address NASA's goal of using environmentally friendly products. The shift came as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was ordering many industries to phase out the use of Freon, an aerosol propellant linked to ozone depletion and global warming," the Inquirer said.

Before the environmentally friendly new insulation was used, about 40 of the spacecraft's 26,000 ceramic tiles would sustain damage in missions. However, Katnik reported that NASA engineers found 308 "hits" to Columbia after a 1997 flight.

A "massive material loss on the side of the external tank" caused much of the damage, Katnik wrote in an article in Space Team Online.

He called the damage "significant." One hundred thirty-two hits were bigger than 1 inch in diameter, and some slashes were as long as 15 inches.

"As recently as last September [2002], a retired engineering manager for Lockheed Martin, the contractor that assembles the tanks, told a conference in New Orleans that developing a new foam to meet environmental standards had 'been much more difficult than anticipated,'" the Inquirer said.

The engineer, who helped design the thermal protection system, said that switching from the Freon foam "resulted in unanticipated program impacts, such as foam loss during flight."

And in the Challenger disaster: The Presidential Commission on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident, also known as the Rogers Commission (after its chairman), was formed to investigate the disaster. The commission members were Chairman William P. Rogers, Vice Chairman Neil Armstrong, David Acheson, Eugene Covert, Richard Feynman, Robert Hotz, Donald Kutyna, Sally Ride, Robert Rummel, Joseph Sutter, Arthur Walker, Albert Wheelon, and Chuck Yeager. The commission worked for several months and published a report of its findings. It found that the Challenger accident was caused by a failure in the O-rings sealing a joint on the right solid rocket booster, which allowed pressurized hot gases and eventually flame to "blow by" the O-ring and make contact with the adjacent external tank, causing structural failure.

The failure of the O-rings was attributed to a faulty design, whose performance could be too easily compromised by factors including the low temperature on the day of launch.

More broadly, the report also considered the contributing causes of the accident. Most salient was the failure of both NASA and Morton Thiokol to respond adequately to the danger posed by the deficient joint design. However, rather than redesigning the joint, they came to define the problem as an acceptable flight risk. The report found that managers at Marshall had known about the flawed design since 1977, but never discussed the problem outside their reporting channels with Thiokol—a flagrant violation of NASA regulations. Even when it became more apparent how serious the flaw was, no one at Marshall considered grounding the shuttles until a fix could be implemented. On the contrary, Marshall managers went as far as to issue and waive six launch constraints related to the O-rings.

The report also strongly criticized the decision making process that led to the launch of Challenger, saying that it was seriously flawed.

“ ...failures in communication... resulted in a decision to launch 51-L based on incomplete and sometimes misleading information, a conflict between engineering data and management judgments, and a NASA management structure that permitted internal flight safety problems to bypass key Shuttle managers.”

One of the commission's most well-known members was theoretical physicist Richard Feynman. During a televised hearing, he famously demonstrated how the O-rings became less resilient and subject to seal failures at ice-cold temperatures by immersing a sample of the material in a glass of ice water. He was so critical of flaws in NASA's "safety culture" that he threatened to remove his name from the report unless it included his personal observations on the reliability of the shuttle, which appeared as Appendix F.

In the appendix, he argued that the estimates of reliability offered by NASA management were wildly unrealistic, differing as much as a thousandfold from the estimates of working engineers. "For a successful technology," he concluded, "reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled."

tl;dr: Cost cutting and Global Warming fears overrode safety of crew priorities.

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