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Crack found in foam on shuttle's fuel tank

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posted on Jul, 3 2006 @ 04:30 PM
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Ah I found the article on PBS. It doesn't say If the shuttle makes it it says:

www.pbs.org...


If the shuttle is seriously damaged by foam or otherwise, NASA plans to move the astronauts into the space station, while another shuttle, the Atlantis, is sent up to rescue them.


I think NPR had a miscommunication about it because I remember the station saying "if the space ship makes it to the space station" but it was suppose to be If the ship is damaged, they will make their way to the space station". minor error, but major difference.




posted on Jul, 3 2006 @ 04:51 PM
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"That's just funny... The reason that you're even hearing about this crack in the insulation is because of Griffin. Every other Shuttle launch that has ever happened has had these cracks, in some form/size or another, but did you hear about them? Nope. Did they pose just as much of a threat then as they do now? Yup."

Actually it has been common knowledge that there have been cracks in the shuttle dating back to the early 90's as far as I can remember. However what we have concluded from the last space shuttle disaster is that if you don't take these cracks very seriously something awful could happen. The public demanded a solution to this probablem after it happened. Someone needs to accept responsibility for this and if Michael Griffen accomplished that(if he realized there was a problem) "Two Shuttle missions ago.
" why is it still an issue today?

The answer is because the issue has not been resolved and NASA has wasted countless billions in the mean time on the Space Shuttle. While the Space Shuttle was a great Public Relations move 30 years ago it has lost its effect over time. The laws of diminishing returns along with the fact that it hardly "safe" to go in will drive the Space Shuttle into an early retirement.

I just hope the brains at NASA will come up with a better design than the ARES for its next planetary shuttle.

This is the time when NASA should be asking themselves if it is ready to transition to something like the ARES that will further help the missions to the moon and later on Mars.

We as Americans should be demanding more of NASA to make sure our Astronauts, are as safe as they possibly can be, it is not the time to be telling ourselves they have choosen to take these risks, that doesn't make sense to me. Of course they know there is a chance of death but that doesn't mean that we should strap these brilliant people to suicide machines.

[edit on 3-7-2006 by Low Orbit]


jra

posted on Jul, 3 2006 @ 05:26 PM
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Originally posted by Low Orbit
Actually it has been common knowledge that there have been cracks in the shuttle dating back to the early 90's as far as I can remember.


Cracks in the foam on the fuel tank, not the shuttle. I'm sure that's what you ment, but I'm picky about details



...why is it still an issue today?

The answer is because the issue has not been resolved and NASA has wasted countless billions in the mean time on the Space Shuttle.


Well as far as I understand it. The reason for the foam cracking is because of the thermal stresses of filling up and emtying the tank twice so far. As far as I know, they empty the tank when the launch is aborted. So that isn't such an easy problem to fix.


I just hope the brains at NASA will come up with a better design than the ARES for its next planetary shuttle.


What's wrong with the Ares? I think it's a great design personally.



posted on Jul, 3 2006 @ 05:32 PM
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Won't the Ares have this same problem since it too will use rockets?

Why didn't NASA stop using the foam all together, how did they fix the problem?


jra

posted on Jul, 3 2006 @ 06:47 PM
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Originally posted by Low Orbit
Won't the Ares have this same problem since it too will use rockets?

Why didn't NASA stop using the foam all together, how did they fix the problem?


Well the foam is to prevent ice from forming on the outside of the fuel tank. Chunks of ice hitting the Shuttle would be a lot worse then foam. With the Ares since the crew/cargo will be mounted on the top. No worries about foam or ice falling off and hitting anything. And with the crew mounted on the top, it will allow them to add the launch abort system similar to what Apollo and the previous capsules had.. So the Ares is actually a lot safer then the Shuttle.



posted on Jul, 3 2006 @ 07:04 PM
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Originally posted by jra
And with the crew mounted on the top, it will allow them to add the launch abort system similar to what Apollo and the previous capsules had.. So the Ares is actually a lot safer then the Shuttle.


The Shuttle does that too, actually. When the Challenger exploded on launch, the crew were blown free from the craft. It was actually the impact with the water that killed them, not the "explosion" itself.



posted on Jul, 3 2006 @ 10:40 PM
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I was taking a look at the weather forcast for tomorrow:
Cape Canaveral, FL 15 day forcast

Also here's a visible loop of Florida and the lower southern states:
Southeast U.S. - Visible Loop

I have the Radar and HDW-High check marked to see how close the t-storms are and which way the wind is blowing. Wouldn't Thursday be a better day for a launch?





[edit on 3-7-2006 by DearWife]



posted on Jul, 3 2006 @ 10:49 PM
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If the U.S. is having this much trouble with the Space Shuttle program, it sure doesn't
speak very well to those who believe that the government is hiding alien technology somewhere.

This also doesn't look good in the event that we suddenly had to launch an emergency space
rescue mission or deal with something BIG heading our way.



posted on Jul, 3 2006 @ 10:52 PM
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I had forgotten to add this to my last post:
Could the rain have caused the foam to crack? Just wondering.



posted on Jul, 3 2006 @ 11:00 PM
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Originally posted by DearWife
I have the Radar and HDW-High check marked to see how close the t-storms are and which way the wind is blowing. Wouldn't Thursday be a better day for a launch?


Forecasts are only accurate for about 12 hours, anything past that doesn't hold much. So probably not.




Could the rain have caused the foam to crack?


Nope, as was already by jra, "the reason for the foam cracking is because of the thermal stresses of filling up and emtying the tank..."


Originally posted by FallenFromTheTree
This also doesn't look good in the event that we suddenly had to launch an emergency space rescue mission or deal with something BIG heading our way.


Huh?



posted on Jul, 3 2006 @ 11:06 PM
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looks like the launch is on



posted on Jul, 3 2006 @ 11:09 PM
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NASA has had a year to tweak and brainstorm the shuttle safety issues and here we are again
with weather and fuel tank foam problems scrubbing the mission.

With all of our nation's intellectual resources, if this is the best we can do, we're up a creek if
we had to launch the shuttle in a hurry.



posted on Jul, 3 2006 @ 11:12 PM
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Originally posted by FallenFromTheTree
NASA has had a year to tweak and brainstorm the shuttle safety issues and here we are again with weather and fuel tank foam problems scrubbing the mission.


Well, there isn't much that can be done about the weather... And the launch is on, because the heads of, engineers, crew, and everyone else at NASA knows this actually isn't a problem. It's happened on every launch, and it caused an accident once. That's once out of 114 launches.


With all of our nation's intellectual resources, if this is the best we can do, we're up a creek ifwe had to launch the shuttle in a hurry.


Not really. The Atlantis is waiting to be launched and can be within hours if they need to. The chances of needing the backup Shuttle though? Slim to none...



posted on Jul, 3 2006 @ 11:20 PM
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I'm all for safety of the crew as much as anyone, but after 30 years we shouldn't be having these problems.



posted on Jul, 3 2006 @ 11:28 PM
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Originally posted by FallenFromTheTree
... but after 30 years we shouldn't be having these problems.


And we should have flying cars, meals in a pill, robot housemaids, and malfunctioning treadmills...But in the past 30 years, governments have been too focused on killing one another to care about the advancement of science and technology.



posted on Jul, 3 2006 @ 11:31 PM
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I understand your point of view completely, but the shuttle program is now established science.

If were were attempting to launch a new design and ran into problems, that would be much more
acceptable.



posted on Jul, 3 2006 @ 11:50 PM
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Originally posted by FallenFromTheTree
I understand your point of view completely, but the shuttle program is now established science


I wouldn't go as far as to say that the Shuttle is an "established science."

Firstly, every flight is unique. It's not like a commercial airliner where one flight is just like the one before it,the one before that, the one before that, and so on and so on. Things go differently on every flight, and the variables are innumerable.

On top of that, the Shuttle was designed mainly in the early 1970s, before we had all the fancy CAD stuff and supercomputers to do the work of the design. This lead to a design flaw, so the Shuttle isn't as stable as it should be in flight.

On the other hand, there have been some design flaws that have been improved upon and fixed. For example, the foam on the external tank has been improved since the Columbia accident. Another two examples would be the improvement of the O-rings on the SRB or the addition of hydrostaic bearings to the SSMEs.

Every flight of the Shuttle should be seen as a test flight. Yeah, we've done it 114 times, but there is still a huge element of danger in each and every launch. If you compare that 114 times to how many flights a 747 (or any other commercial airliner) has under its belt, you'll see that that's nothing. In fact, those commercial airliners probably had more test flights than the Shuttle has in actual flights. Oh, and if you're wondering how many test flights the Shuttle had before it started its missions, the answer is five. Technically six, as STS-1 was considered a test flight as well.

What it comes down to is the old adage of, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." We've fixed the Shuttle when it's been broken and when it was neccessary, but now that we have it in working order we should leave it be.

Seriously, the only reason that the general public is even hearing about the cracks in the foam in the slightest is because of the one time it caused an accident. Did you hear about it before then on every launch? Did they scrub launches because of it before the Columbia?



posted on Jul, 3 2006 @ 11:57 PM
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When bureaucrats and bean counters take control of any project or actually ANY project dealing with a scientific endeavor; science has to take a back seat to financial concerns. IMO this is what has happened to NASA, health care, EPA, NOAH and the military. It's not going to improve any time soon!

I think the above has a direct impact on the safety and overall performance of the shuttle.

[edit on 4-7-2006 by whaaa]



posted on Jul, 4 2006 @ 12:22 AM
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The astronauts really need to find a better place to hide their crack.
No really, this shuttle design is like so 1960's.



posted on Jul, 4 2006 @ 12:47 AM
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It really worries me that this attitude of "We can get away with it" has come back to NASA. Yes, they need to get the shuttle back up there, but the whole "We got away with it before, we can get away with it again" mentality was what killed Challenger in 86. They KNEW they had blowback issues with the O-rings, and they knew that it was going to be freezing that morning, but Morton Thiocol and NASA decided that since nothing had happened on previous flights, this one would be ok too. Now, 20 years later that same attitude is coming back. They KNOW there's a crack in the foam and pieces are falling off, but "It's so small and weightless it won't hurt the shuttle." That's exactly what they thought about Columbia too.




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