[SpamCop-Social] Re: We've lost another shuttle
Thu, 06 Feb 2003 17:03:19 -0500
> Or not let any shuttle launch without a robot arm. One of the crew had done
> a study last year (the irony) of doing just such an inspection of the belly
> without an arm to lift him there. Conclusion: It would take more time than
> they carry oxygen for, and that was just to get there and come back, let
> alone actually attempt any kind of repair.
Not even have an airhose that goes along the same line with a tether to provide
some extra air?
> The "fix", IMHO, is for 1) keeping the foam/ice from falling off the main
> tank in the first place (if that's what caused the damage), and 2) actually
> get the "flying camera" being looked at for the ISS into production, so if
> there's any fears of tile damage the crew can look for it, and at least has
> the chance to abandon ship at the ISS. For all we know a relatively small
> micro-meteriorite or piece of space junk skimmed/bounced/struck the shuttle
> and tore up some tiles. Wouldn't surprise me a bit, and nobody onboard would
> notice it even happened.
The investigations seems to be trailing away from the foam as the root cause.
(However it is to note that the foam composition have changed from its
original.. but that may not mean much. Additionally, the onboard sensors
register something strange if the damage occured sometime during lift off?) It
appears they are moving toward a case of space junk slamming into the wing
(unnoticed) before landing.
> As far as how long it will be until we fly again......it has to be within a
> year or so. Russia only has enough rockets to keep the ISS supplied for
> another year (it will take 2 years to start up the production line again),
> and if we have to abandon it the ISS it will fall apart. More than half of
> the ISS crew's time is taken up doing maintenance.
Plus it looks like it costs more for using the Russian rockets to boost supplies
and equipment up there anyways. (Mentioned that each Soyuz/Progress rocket can
ferry up 3 tons of payload, where the shuttle can do 30 tons of payload and get
to its destination faster.)
> Space flight is, and always will be, inherently risky, regardless of how
> safe we try to make it. All we can do is raise the odds a bit.......
It will never be 100% safe.. the costs would bankrupt any entity. The best one
can do is to minimize the risks by making practical changes.