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  Space Shuttles - Space Station
  Crack found in Foam of ET

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Author Topic:   Crack found in Foam of ET
GACspaceguy
Member

Posts: 1394
From: Guyton, GA
Registered: Jan 2006

posted 07-03-2006 09:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Spaceflight now is reporting that a crack in the foam for the ET of STS-121 has been found. No word on what the game plan is from here by NASA. Here is the link. http://spaceflightnow.com/shuttle/sts121/060703crack/

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-03-2006 09:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Florida Today is now reporting that a large chunk of foam was found on the MLP after RSS rollback around the orbiter.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-03-2006 11:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Combining the photo of the ET crack published by Orlando Sentinel and the photo of the foam piece from Florida Today I was able with the assistance of Jay Chladek with Nebraska Press Association to show that the fragment found on the MLP came from the same area as the crack on the LOX Feedline bracket:

[This message has been edited by Robert Pearlman (edited July 03, 2006).]

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-03-2006 11:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
According to sources close to the Mission Management Team, they have decided to meet again tonight at 5:30 p.m. CDT to allow the ET team to get more history and information on this issue. They are continuing preparations for tomorrow's launch attempt, but will not make a final decision until tonight.

A press conference is now scheduled for no earlier than 12:00 p.m. CDT.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-03-2006 12:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
According to John Shannon, NASA's deputy Space Shuttle Program manager and Mission Management Team Chairman, the loss of a 3-inch piece of foam from a liquid oxygen (LOX) feedline bracket has caused three primary concerns, none of which specifically preclude launching tomorrow or Wednesday.

The damage is believed to have occurred when water (from Sunday's scrub-causing rain) seeped into the bracket's joint, which is designed to move as the tank expands during cryogenic fuel loading. The water then froze. When the tank was emptied, the foam contracted and with the ice now blocking movement of the joint, was pinched, causing a piece to crack and ultimately fall off.

The foam was not of the size (0.0057 pounds, "a small piece of bread crust") that had it fallen off during launch would it be a threat to the orbiter. If it had fallen during ascent, it could have hit the underbelly of the orbiter.

Without that foam in place, NASA engineers are now considering three potential issues:

  1. aerothermal heating during ascent
  2. ice formation during tanking
  3. further and unknown damage to other areas of the bracket ("ice-pinch point")
NASA engineers are studying aerodynamic models and the potential for ice formation. Further, were they to tank tomorrow morning, "excellent" views are available to assess ice formation, should any occur.

Regarding the possibility of additional damage, the angles by which they can view and photograph the damage allows for the chance that other damage remains hidden. They could access the area via a platform to inspect the area, but that would require at least a day's time and delay. Engineers are deciding how to proceed now and will report their findings at the MMT meeting at 5:30 p.m. CDT today.

collectSPACE will post the results of that meeting when available.

[This message has been edited by Robert Pearlman (edited July 03, 2006).]

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-03-2006 01:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

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