Re: [dsat] A sewed and crumpled canvas cover !

From: Markus Mehring (
Date: Tue Feb 04 2003 - 18:02:47 EST

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    On Tue, 04 Feb 2003 15:49:51 -0600, you (paul <>) wrote:
    >hypothetically, are you saying, eg, that if a substantial
    >number of the tiles fell off and the astronauts and NASA were
    >fully aware of this,
    Just as a reminder, there were missions where substantial numbers of tiles
    _have_ fallen off, without that much of an effect. That's what makes this
    accident and the assumption that the ET debris might be a or the cause a
    bit of a mystery. It doesn't necessarily all tie together, and the data as
    far as it is known at this point also doesn't necessarily reflect this.
    There is data that is indicative of something going on in the entry
    interface, but not indicative (yet) of exactly what is going on. There also
    is data that is kinda conflicting with other data, or seemingly has no
    connection at all to what was going on elsewhere. Of course the ET debris
    incident is a strong hint towards a root cause, but it's nothing else yet,
    and the fact that it receives so much attention can -at this point- rather
    be attributed to the fact that there is not too much else to look at (yet).
    >that they would simply deorbit knowing they would meltdown ??
    Well, I'm not putting it that bluntly, but this is effectively what would
    likely happen in one way or another. You can't stay on (in?) orbit
    indefinitely; after a 16 day mission you're gonna hit your consumable
    margins pretty soon. In-orbit repair is so far out that it's hardly an
    option no matter how you look at it. A rescue or refuel mission from the
    ground also is nothing that could possibly be set up in a mere couple of
    days. So what would you do, what do you suggest?
    >if that IS the case, then it seems
    >like the smart guys on this list should engineer a better
    >system (or a PI atty might say "should have engineered...")
    Design changes are hard to implement. They cost money (key problem at NASA,
    as you might have heard...), and they are quite capable of limiting the
    Shuttle's capabilities to the point that it would be useless to fly it. For
    instance, I've heard some debate lately about why there isn't a rescue
    system in the form of a detachable crew compartment capsule. Sounds beautiful,
    but such a system would weigh so much that you almost could forget about flying
    any payload. Completely new designs, Shuttle replacements, are in the pipe, but
    some are frozen, suffer from bad budgets, suffer from design or technology
    issues, etc. - it's all not quite that easy.
    It's not and it's never been a secret that the Space Shuttle system is far
    from perfect or fully safe. Aside from the risks that you can work hard on
    to minimize them, there are a couple of scenarios that ultimately get you
    in serious trouble without a chance of doing anything about it. Everyone
    who straps into those seats to ride that bullet is fully aware of that. And
    after all, manned spaceflight is a risky business, and that's not just a
    saying, it's also true.
    CU!	Markus
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