Archive for Sunday, June 10, 2007

NASA not worried about gap on shuttle

June 10, 2007


— With a 4-inch gap in the space shuttle Atlantis' heat-protecting blanket not appearing to be an urgent problem on Saturday, the crew members readied themselves for what NASA called a delicate ballet with the international space station.

Then the shuttle will enter a weeklong embrace today with the orbital outpost.

Atlantis' seven astronauts spent much of Saturday on a mandatory inspection of the shuttle's delicate heat tiles, outer edges and blankets for problems similar to the kind that caused the fatal Columbia accident in 2003. As of Saturday afternoon, no glaring problems were reported.

But late Friday and early Saturday, the crew spent extra time using a robot arm to look at a gap in a thermal blanket on the left side of the shuttle. The gap, about 4 inches by 6 inches, appears to have been caused by air lifting the corner of the blanket, John Shannon, chairman of the mission management team, said at a news conference.

"It's not a great deal of concern right now, but there's a lot of work to be done," Shannon said. "Other than that, the vehicle is very clean."

NASA engineers want to study more photos of the torn blanket, which covers maneuvering engines at the tail of the shuttle, particularly images that were taken by cameras attached to the solid rocket boosters that separated from Atlantis more than two minutes into flight and then dropped into the Atlantic Ocean. The boosters are recovered by ships after each launch.


Ragingbear 11 years ago

Yeah. They weren't worried about that chunk of foam that came off during lift-off either. Look what happened there.

erod0723 11 years ago

The damn shuttles each cost over $1 billion a piece, and you're saying we can't prevent freaking holes in them? NASA must be hiring C students these days or something...

Stu Clark 11 years ago

ero, thermal blankets consist of multiple layers of aluminized plastic film. A gap in a blanket is NOT a hole in the shuttle. These blankets are not used in the areas subject to the severe heating of re-entry, so I would conclude that this is not a big problem.

Ragingbear 11 years ago

Sounds like Clinton's excuse. Well, it all depends on what your definition of a "hole" is....

Tell you what, if it breaks up on re-entry, then those that think leaving this hole alone was a bad idea are correct. If it doesn't, then those that think the hole mean nothing are probably correct. Let's just hope we are wrong in regards to this.

Stu Clark 11 years ago


Cliton"s excuse? What does that mean? I'm just saying than MLI blankets are not used on the surfaces exposed to high temperature re-entry heating. OK, so I'm CAclarks, I could also use S/C-thermal-engineer.

nell 11 years ago

The real gap at NASA is in it's current leader, appointed by our then anti-global-warming president in 2005:

===== Griffin Altered NASA Mission Statement To Remove Global Warming Reference

Last week, NPR asked NASA administrator Michael Griffin said that while he was "aware that global warming exists," he wasn't sure whether it "is a longterm concern or not." Griffin said he is "not sure that it is fair to say that it is a problem we must wrestle with."

Griffin subsequently clarified his remarks, stating that protecting the earth against global warming is not in the agency's mission statement:

The agency is responsible for collecting data that is used by the science community and policy makers as part of an ongoing discussion regarding our planet's evolving systems. It is NASA's responsibility to collect, analyze and release information. It is not NASA's mission to make policy regarding possible climate change mitigation strategies."

But from 2002-2006, it was. Part of NASA's mission was to "protect our home planet":

To understand and protect our home planet; to explore the universe and search for life; to inspire the next generation of explorers : as only NASA can.

In Feb. 2006, the mission statement was "quietly altered" to remove the phrase "to understand and protect our home planet." Even a year ago, NASA scientists predicted that because of the mission statement revision, there would "be far less incentive to pursue projects to improve understanding of terrestrial problems like climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions." Top NASA climatologist James Hansen called the deletion "a shocking loss," because he had "been using the phrase since December 2005 to justify speaking out about the dangers of global warming."

In contrast to the previous mission statement, the 2006 revision "was made at NASA headquarters without consulting the agency's 19,000 employees or informing them ahead of time." Instead, it was submitted as part of the 2006 Earth Science Research and Analysis budget, which is a joint product of the White House's Office of Management and Budget and the NASA Administrator, Michael Griffin.

Therefore, Griffin is right. Unfortunately, protecting the earth against climate change is not part of NASA's mission anymore. But that's because he changed the mission. ===== Though Griffin apologized for potentially confusing his personal opinion with NASA point of view, his disclosure plainly revealed the most likely reason he was hired : a willingness rare among scientists to deny that we need to do something about global warming.

Another sycophantic bushtwit exposed.

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