posted on Aug, 6 2005 @ 02:16 PM
Well, the ideas are "imaginative" all right but "practical" No way!
Firstly, if you add a "plastic wrap" you would be adding hundreds of pounds worth of load already on the shuttle thus the shuttle would carry less
payload and the cost would shoot up.
Second, the plastic wrap would burn up on takeoff itself forget re-entry, a shuttle experiences nearly 10G's and travels faster than 11mts/sec so it
experiences incredible friction with the air and this plastic would start to melt slowly and form lumps on the shuttles surface causing regions of
high temp in perticular places also drag, decreasing effeciency, increasing the fuel required to attain a perticular altitude and decrease payload
Thirdly, this foam problem is a recent problem with the shuttle, the foam is manufactured and designed to match the tanks contours[actually it is
sprayed on like spray paint or shaving cream except its very dry and hard] and is "set" into the shuttles body. IMHo the foam problem is due to age
and NASA's reluctace to give the shuttle a completely new RCC cover, also according to recent news articles Lockheed Martin's standards are dropping
and quality is getting effected. This coupled with budget cuts is the reason, I feel, that the space program is getting shabby.
The shuttle worked fine for nearly 2 decades and now suddenly we have foam tearing through the ships hull? Doesnt this tell you that it is not an
engineering problem ? It is a problem with quality!
here is a good article on the Thermal protection system: Shuttle
Thermal Protective System
Also for those who didnt know the foam on the tank is a special material that actually burns[ablative material] so that the heat is dissipated much
faster than conducting it through its surface, they are not ceramic tiles but it is something like thermocol.
Here's the company that makes the foam: NCFI