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NASA Suspending Shuttle Program Over Foam Debris

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HOUSTON, July 27 - NASA suspended further flights of the space shuttle fleet on Wednesday after determining that a large piece of insulating foam had broken off the external fuel tank of the Discovery shortly after liftoff Tuesday morning, the same problem that doomed the Columbia and its seven astronauts in the last mission, two and a half years ago.http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/28/science/...agewanted=printbt

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yeah, been all over KHOU-TV. :)They mentioned something about sending Atlantis to go them from the ISS due to the chance of another "accident" I dont know the story well though.. Havent been paying attention what so ever. But my TV is glued to the Nasa Channel though with the live audio feed. :-kewl

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>> They mentioned something about sending Atlantis to go them from the ISS due to the chance of another "accident"That's been a last-ditch contingency that's been talked about for months, but there's certainly no discussion about having to do it for this mission. The ship is in good shape from everything I've heard, although it will take some time to go over all the imagery that's been generated from the launch cameras, the new inspection boom on Discovery, and the photos just recently taken from the ISS as Discovery approached.

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There is ZERO chance of using Atlantis for any rescue mission. The entire shuttle fleet has been grounded because of the foam debris that fell away from the external tank during Discovery's ascent to orbit. Only the Russian Soyuz spacecraft would be viable "lifeboats".Anyway, I haven't seen anything yet that would stop Discovery from returning home as normal.Chris Low.

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The damage seems to be far smaller than anything seen on an average successful return.The grounding is purely a kneejerk reaction to apeace the naysayers and critics.Common reaction I hear is that it's very likely things like this have probably happened on every flight but noone's ever been able to see it before.Another little factoid I picked up is that NASA was forced to change the foam material (the exact material that caused the damage) to another composition in order to comply with new environmental regulations, this new material being less strong than the old one (and thus more likely to fail under stress causing pieces to fall off...).

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Has anyone ever wondered why the Shuttle only began having poroblems with the foam debris since about '97 or so?Well I know the answer and its a little disturbing.It seems that the foam used on the shuttle prior to '97 or so was made with a petroleum-based freon that had been outlawed after that year. The new freon, though works to make the foam, the foam that is made is nowhere near as durable as the foam that was made with the "environmentally unfriendly" older freon.Since many scientists disagree on the true effect of refrigerants and propellants on the Ozone layer, do environmentalists have seven deaths on their hands?Or, is it a small price to pay for mankind?Just wondering... let me know what you thinkFoo

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>Has anyone ever wondered why the Shuttle only began having>poroblems with the foam debris since about '97 or so?>>Well I know the answer and its a little disturbing.>That is not true about the dates of problems. This goes way back, and it is by a Company called Michoud.STS-1 ET-1 Columbia 4/12/81 ETAll or part of 16 orbiter tiles were lost and148 others damaged during the mission.STS-3 ET-3 Columbia 3/22/82 ETThirty-six orbiter tiles and portionsof 19 others were lost during the mission.STS-27 ET-23 Atlantis 12/2/1988 LWTAtlantis sustained extensive tile damageon liftoff primarily due to debris from thesolid rocket boosters.STS-86The STS-86 mission revealed a similar damage patternbut to a much lesser degree than STS-87. The STS-86tile damage was accepted ruled as an unexplainedanomaly because it was a night launch and did notprovide the opportunity for the photographic evidence theSTS-87 mission did. A review of the records of theSTS-86 records revealed that a change to the type offoam was used on the external tank.From: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/space/updates/sto32.htmlNOT DISCLOSED BY MichoudSTS-87Columbia sustained extensive tiledamage during launch.ALSO:The pattern of hits did not follow aerodynamic expectations, and thenumber, size and severity of hits were abnormal. Three hundredand eight (308) hits were counted during the inspection, one hundredand thirty two (132) were greater than one inch. Some of the hitsmeasured fifteen (15) inches long with depths measuring up toone and one-half (1 1/2) inches. Considering that the depth of thetile is two (2) inches, a 75% penetration depth had been reached.Over one hundred (100) tiles have been removed from theColumbia because they were irreparable. The inspection revealedthe damage, now the "detective process" began.From: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/space/updates/sto32.htmlSTS-112Disclosed by NASA at Press Conference- Not disclosed by Michoud on website.STS-107Self-ExplanatoryI've done a bit of research on this right after Columbia went down.Regards,JoeGrab My FREEWARE Voice recognition Profiles here:[a href=http://library.avsim.net/esearch.php?CatID=fs2004misc&DLID=58334]Cessna 172 Voice Profile[/a][a href=http://library.avsim.net/esearch.php?CatID=fs2004misc&DLID=60740]FSD Avanti Voice Profile[/a].You will need the main FREEWARE Flight Assistant program to use it, get it here:[a href=http://library.avsim.net/esearch.php?CatID=genutils&DLID=39661]Flight Assistant 2.2[/a]

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>Has anyone ever wondered why the Shuttle only began having>poroblems with the foam debris since about '97 or so?>>Well I know the answer and its a little disturbing.>>It seems that the foam used on the shuttle prior to '97 or so>was made with a petroleum-based freon that had been outlawed>after that year. The new freon, though works to make the foam,>the foam that is made is nowhere near as durable as the foam>that was made with the "environmentally unfriendly" older>freon.Quite honestly, I'm sick and tired of all the amateur armchair engineers who like to use this excuse to explain the difficulties with the external tank. The propellant change pertained only to acreage foam, which is foam that is applied by automated machinery, and covers the majority of the ET. There are some areas which are built of hand-applied foam, which still uses the old chlorofluorocarbon based blowing agent. Guess what? These hand-applied areas with the CFC based foam are the ones which have failed in both the recent Discovery and previous Columbia launches. Both the bipod ramp and the protuberance air load ramp which failed were made of your beloved "Freon" blown foam. In the future, please refrain from obtaining engineering advise from talk radio.

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Ok, Thanks for the opinion Dan. It was insightful and enlightening and the namecalling added a nice touch as well. Hiney hairs wound a little too tight this morning? I respect everyones opinion, lets keep it light though. ok?Thanks Foo

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This goes way back, and it is by a Company called Michoud.Actually it's a company called Lockheed Martin, formerly Martin Marietta. [a href=http://www.lockheedmartin.com/wms/findPage.do?dsp=fec&ci=15389&rsbci=14699&fti=0&ti=0&sc=400]Michoud Operations[/a] is the government-owned, contractor-operated facility in Louisiana where the tank is built.

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>Ok, >> Thanks for the opinion Dan. Those are facts, not opinions.> It was insightful and> enlightening and the namecalling added a nice touch as well.No one called you any names. You've obviously not an engineer, so don't try to play one on TV.> I respect everyones opinion, lets keep it light though. ok?I don't respect anyone's opinion if it contradicts factual information, and insults the hard work of thousands of actual qualified people. Your "opinion" deserves the same respect as JFK conspiriacy theories, moon landing hoax theories, and fluoridated water-as-mindcontrol theories.

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AFAIK, the halogen chemistry of the atmosphere that affects the upper layer ozone to create the so-called "ozone hole" is well-established. ODS's (ozone depleting substances) are banned by treaty now.scott s..

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Oh come on now Dan, geez>Those are facts, not opinions.Yes, those are the facts as you understand them just as mine were facts as I read them. Its the facts that we as individuals agree with that makes our opinions.>No one called you any names. You've obviously not an engineer, so don't try to play one on TV.I will answer this one with the FACT that you did indeed call me an armchair engineer. Read your first post again, please.>I don't respect anyone's opinion if it contradicts factual information, >and insults the hard work of thousands of actual qualified people. Your >"opinion" deserves the same respect as JFK conspiriacy theories, moon >landing hoax theories, and fluoridated water-as-mindcontrol theories.You should respect everyone's opinion, it makes for a much more pleasant conversation. I am not a conspiracy nut in the least. I just read something interesting and thought I would bounce it off some of the like-minded Flight-sim enthusiasts here in the forums in order to get some feedback.Its people like you sir, that make it very hard to have intelligent conversations in these forums. Your quickness to pounce on something you disagree with and villify the author is typical of many of the "flamers" in forums. Furthermore it says alot about you if you are unable to, as I said before, keep it light and not take it so personal.I did read all the replies to my post and did some checking. And though I still agree with some of what I said, I do also concede that the problem isn't as black and white as I originally thought. Why? Because I respected the opinions of those who opposed what I said just enough to listen to them and read up for myself. A trick, I am sure, you will agree with.Thanks againFoo

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No it's not.While it's recognised that these chemicals can under lab conditions contribute to the destruction of ozone this has never been observed outside a chemical lab.In fact the true reason for the so-called "ozone hole" (which is no hole at all but was a temporary weakening of the ozone layer which has since disappeared) was purely natural and most likely a combination of a very active solar spot cycle (and thus sharply increased radiation in relevant bands of the EM spectrum) combined with atmospheric conditions brought about by an abnormally large incidence of volcanism over the preceding years.The chemicals banned have not even been observed in quantity in the areas of the atmosphere where the ozone depletion occurred.

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Sounds reasonable to me.I may not be an engineer, but I do play one on TV... just kiddingActually, I just recently took the EPA Type I, II, and III exam for refrigerant handling. And let me tell you this. The book says that:Though Chloroflourocarbons (cfc's) are indeed heavier than air, their stability makes it "likely" that they eventually make their way to the ozone layer.Now, I ask you this. I am heavier than air. Much heavier... heheDo you think that one day I might eventually make my way to the ozone layer too? How does gravity make an exception for CFC's?It may not take an actual engineer to figure out that, according to the immortal words of Jethro:That don't make no sense at all!!!Thanks Foo

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